Thinley Namgay

Not being able to save money for the future, heavy workload, and personal issues are some of the primary causes of stress among civil servants in the country, according to a Centre of Bhutan and GNH Studies (CBS) research conducted this year.

The study shows that civil servants in general experience stress between moderate and above moderate at all times.

The researcher interviewed 107 civil servants, most of whom are from the age group of 40 years and above (25.2 percent) at the professional and management levels.

To determine stress levels, factors related to their work, economic stability, and personal-related factors were considered.

More than 54 percent of respondents said the workload was the main cause of stress, followed by last-minute assignments equating to almost 50 percent. Other causes are a lack of necessary resources to perform their duties, lack of appreciation and recognition for work done, and lack of necessary skills.

The highest contributing stress determinant under the personal related factors is lack of vacation or breaks at 48 counts equating to almost

45 percent of the total count. The next major elements are health problems, responsibilities at home, lack of social contacts, and peer pressure.

In economic-related factors, almost 70 percent of the respondents revealed that they are unable to save for the future. The other major contributing factors were no savings for uncertain or urgent requirements followed by social obligations.  Many are also worried about not having a house, and inflation.

During times of stress, most civil servants (57.9 percent) prefer to talk to friends and family. Some resort to music, exercise, and sleep.

Besides pointing out nepotism in the workplace, civil servants expressed that they are dissatisfied with the distribution of work which is not done according to their position.

They also said that there is a lack of monitoring by the supervisors on the ongoing task, and pressurise at the end of the deadline to make changes.

The respondents also said the performers should be recognised and

non-performers should be trained and provided necessary skills to perform.

As per civil servants,  better house allowance is required, and give equal opportunity for training to the regional offices.

Considering stress as a detrimental factor, civil servants suggested that RCSC should initiate counselling programmes, and find a solution to address social obligations.

Civil servants also said RCSC or agencies should conduct recreational activities to bring the agencies together and build rapport for better collaboration, and there should be periodic medical check-up programmes for civil servants.

Respondents also mentioned supervisors (P1 and Executive Level) should be provided with programmes such as anger management and communication skills to deal with subordinates to create a conducive working environment.