Managers suffer in silence


Despite soaring levels of work-related stress, the UK's managers would rather talk to anyone other than their families and friends about that their problems at work.

Accountancy firm Grant Thornton canvassed the views of more than 380 senior management in British mid-corporate firms. Their research revealed that in spite of the trend towards home working, just one per cent of people turn to friends and family to discuss their business concerns, with half turning instead to colleagues and other business professionals for advice.

The survey also found that despite the huge funds and effort that the Government and industry has invested in setting up business support groups, a mere seven per cent of businesses turn to them for advice.

An even less popular option is talking to the bank manager. Only three per cent ranked the bank manager as a likely source of business advice, something that Grant Thornton's Graeme Forbes puts down to the structural changes in banking and the rise of impersonal computerised banking processes and decision making.

Forbes added: "Often, by talking to friends and family about work related issues people can get valuable, objective advice on how best to deal with a situation. By not discussing problems with our nearest and dearest we risk bottling things up and this can also take its toll, not only on our health but in the way they act around our friends and family. As always, moderation is the key to success." Since that the survey was carried out by accountants, it is probably unsurprisingly that it found that accountants are one of the most sought after groups for giving business advice, with more than one in five respondents said that they are most likely to turn to them for guidance.

But as Graeme Forbes said: "It makes good business sense for the senior management to tap into as many different sources of information as possible. This is particularly relevant when reviewing the business strategy as it is often difficult for management to make objective decisions when they are at the centre of a complex business.

Under these circumstances, the opinion of an outsider who can provide objective advice is invaluable. In today's current challenging economic climate, the need for this sort of professional counsel has never been greater."