Owners of privately held businesses in Northern Ireland are the most stressed in the UK, a new study has suggested.
The survey of 500 family businesses, SMEs and entrepreneurs by business advisers Grant Thornton found that over half of the company bosses in the province said their stress levels had increased in the last year.
At 54%, the response was higher than the 48% in the east of England and 45% in London who said stress levels had increased.
The main cause of workplace stress among business owners in Northern Ireland is pressure on cash flow, as pointed out by 34% of respondents.
The major cause of workplace stress for those in the east of England and London was the economic climate, which topped the UK-wide list after being cited by 34% of those surveyed, ahead of the heavy workload cited by 26%.
The survey found a correlation between stress levels and the number of holidays taken. It found private business leaders in Northern Ireland take one of the lowest number of days (18.7).
Louise Simpson from Grant Thornton, said: "Company bosses are providing evidence that those able to take more holidays are less stressed than their counterparts in regions where holidays are less frequent. Taking the time to step away from the business to reflect and recharge can help owners bring a new perspective when making decisions."