Some two thirds (63%) indicate that they are experiencing physical and mental symptoms related to their high workload.
Work pressure is as high as ever, according to a new study conducted by SoFoKleS. Roughly three out of every four academics indicate that they experience work pressure to be either high or very high. Around half of the support and management staff feel the same way. Some two thirds (63%) indicate that they are experiencing physical and mental symptoms related to their high workload.
These are grave figures, which cannot be ignored within the sector. As a result, work pressure is a theme that is high on the agenda for SoFoKleS.in 2020. We will be addressing it with research, a series of e-conferences and the launch of this magazine, among other things. The magazine will portray how the sector is dealing with this issue in its approach to work pressure, while also providing inspiration for a custom approach for your organisation. Since dealing with work pressure at universities is very much an ongoing process, this magazine will continue to expand throughout the year, with new articles being added regularly.
In our study into how work pressure is experienced at Dutch research universities, staff indicated what they view as sources of energy and what they experience to be stressors. The results are depicted in an infographic in this magazine. There turns out to be no particular single stressor causing high work pressure, with staff giving a number of reasons. These include the way that academic research is funded, as well as the combination of increasing student numbers and a lower financial contribution per student.
This magazine was launched around the start of the coronavirus crisis, with most staff working from home. Lectures are being given online and the distinction between home and work has become less distinct for most staff. The changed working circumstances have led to increased work pressure, although it is difficult to make clear-cut statements on the topic already. In the interview with Samula Mescher, she explains that there is a risk of tasks being postponed or going uncompleted, which will create extra pressure later on. However, she also sees opportunities opening up thanks to this crisis. ‘Perhaps we will come to understand that certain tasks, consultations and procedures are less important than we thought.’
All in all, work pressure is a multifaceted problem, and addressing it is a complex task. This is emphasised by everyone involved with it whose views are given in this magazine. This observation means that it is even more important for us to share knowledge and know when to seek each other out when dealing with work pressure. Therefore, we call on our readers to join our work pressure network and to share experiences or submit issues for the sector to consider. To do so, please use the form found in this magazine.
Various universities are already taking great steps towards addressing work pressure, as revealed in this magazine. However, there are many other steps that can still be taken, and need to be taken. So let us all join together in working towards finding feasible solutions.