The true impact of workplace stress
The Sodexo research revealed that 35.72% of people are stressed out by the thought of returning to their usual workplace now that social restrictions are lifted. According to data from the Labour Force Survey (LFS), on average per 100,000 employees, 5,110 men and women aged 25–35 have self-reported cases of work-related stress.
35.3% have felt so overwhelmed with stress at work I’ve needed time off, 37.9% have had sleepless nights over work-related stress, and almost half (44.9%) admitted that stress at work affects their home life.
In fact, some employees even admitted reaching breaking point, with work becoming too overwhelming: 39.8% of employees left their job due to working in a stressful environment.
More than a quarter (27.7%) admitted that they have had to take medication to help with stress caused by work, including sleeping pills, anxiety medication, and so on.
Due to the pandemic, many people have faced new challenges some would never have expected to happen. From juggling work-life balance to running a business while budgets are tight, according to Mind, more people have experienced a mental health crisis during the pandemic than ever previously recorded. And yet, 44.6% of survey respondents stated they would feel embarrassed to take time off work because of stress.
James Routledge, the founder of Sanctus, a provider of mental health coaching in the workplace, comments on why it’s important to recognise when employees are stressed: ‘The bigger implication is the human cost, and the impact on an individual who might be suffering in silence, trapped or alone and struggling with their mental health.
‘Our work is a community, a place where we come together to do something or achieve a wider purpose, so not being supported or taken care of by our colleagues at work, to not feel like anyone cares about us, can hurt. Focusing on employee mental health will improve these metrics highlighted above, but it’s also going to create more trust, compassion and community at work.’
Dealing with complaints, multitasking, and back-to-back meetings are the most stressful work-based task
The research also revealed which tasks at work employees find the most stressful:
% Most stressed by
|1||Dealing with complaints|
|2||Multitasking several projects with upcoming deadlines|
|3||Back to back meetings throughout the day|
|5||Talking on the phone to customers|
|6||Presenting to people virtually or in person (internal or external)|
|9||Working with large digital documents (excel, word, reports)|
|10||1-1 meetings with your manager|
Graham James, the director of commercial development at Sodexo Engage says: ‘What’s interesting is that the most stressful tasks revealed are a day-to-day part of a person’s role, making them unavoidable in most circumstances.
Employees will naturally feel stressed as the pressure amounts, however, if an employer has a strong support network in place, such as employee assistance programmes (EAPs), providing their team the skills and reassurance they need to complete these tasks goes a long way in reducing stress, knowing their manager is there to support them in difficult situations.’
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