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The Impact of the Recession on Workers

By: Maggie Lonsdale BA (hons) - Updated: 7 Nov 2012 | comments*Discuss
Recession Impact Redundant Economic

The recession has certainly taken its toll on employees. Even if you have not been made redundant, the impact of the recession has been stressful, frustrating and difficult.

With over 1.3 million people in the UK made redundant as a result of the global economic downturn, it’s clear how hard the country has been hit. But for the people that were able to hang onto their jobs it wasn’t all plain sailing. There has been a huge rise in stress-related illnesses, credit card debt and divorce, as people have struggled to come to terms with the impact of the recession.

Increased Stress Levels

With over a third of companies in the UK making redundancies during 2009/10, it’s no surprise that stress levels in the workplace increased. Companies often announce that they are going to be Making Redundancies in advance of the actual redundancies, which understandably causes considerable stress among the workforce.

The period of time when people are waiting to find out who will be made redundant is unsettling, with fears for financial difficulties and emotional issues, not to mention the stress of trying to find another job during a very deep recession.

There is also a huge amount of stress for the people that actually have to make the redundancies, such as HR managers. Even if they are confident in keeping their own jobs, the ‘messenger' if often the one that bears the brunt of the person being made redundant.

No Pay Increases

Up until the recession took hold around October 2008, many people had got used to getting an annual pay increase and budgeting accordingly, on the assumption that they would get their 5% increase or whatever. With many companies within the private sector and some within the public sector putting a blanket ban on pay increases in order to try to guarantee jobs, it’s clearly the lesser of two evils, but it is still a stressful impact of the recession.

No Christmas Party

This may sound like a minor impact of the recession, but with large numbers of companies cancelling or considerably down-scaling their Christmas parties, many employees felt that their hard work during a very difficult economic period was not acknowledged.

With no party to mark the end of the year and thank the staff for their efforts, employees simply drifted into the New Year with no sense of appreciation. This has lead many employees to feel even more down about their jobs, especially as, with the recession officially over, people are keen to get back to positivity. Some companies are addressing this by having delayed Christmas parties, which are widely appreciated by staff.

Harder Working Conditions

The recession has caused many of us to fear for the security of our jobs, so what was considered acceptable behaviour at work has got an awful lot tighter. People are no longer making dental or medical appointments in work time, they’re coming into work when they may before have had a day off sick and are not attending their children’s sports days or plays.

While this may be a good thing for the companies in the short term, as their staff are ‘more committed to their jobs’, it’s not a receipt for long-term happiness in the workplace, especially if people are not taking time off when they are ill.

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