The impact of a pressure-filled summer season is causing more than half of UK employees to experience chronic workplace stress, or ‘burnout’, according to the second quarterly National Wellbeing Index Report from Westfield Health, which analyses the state of the nation’s wellbeing at work and home.
48% of the workforce admit they suffer from work-related stress during the summer season
Alarmingly, the research reveals that the average employee had taken four days off for stress, anxiety or depression in the last three months, with 48% of the workforce admitting they suffer from work-related stress during the summer season.
Contributing factors include increased workloads when colleagues take summer leave, the pressure of juggling work with childcare over the long school break and a perceived expectation that staff need to be on call, even when on holiday. Alarmingly, well over a third (37%) of HR professionals surveyed say their workplace doesn’t do enough to prepare for the inevitable decrease in manpower over the summer, and that overtime has increased by 23% since April.
The report, which surveyed 2,014 UK employees and 250 HR professionals, also highlights a sharp increase in ‘leavism’, whereby employees work outside of contracted hours or whilst on annual leave. Over 1 in 10 (11%) of employees admit to responding to calls and emails whilst on holiday, 36% believe their boss expects them to be on standby during their break and shockingly almost a fifth (17%) of holiday time is spent worrying about work.
A vicious cycle
David Capper, CEO of health and wellbeing provider Westfield Health, says, “Employees are experiencing a vicious cycle of stress and anxiety that is having a detrimental impact on their wellbeing in the run up to, during and after they come back from their summer break, leaving them no time for vital recovery. Almost half (48%) of employees agree they’re suffering and, worryingly, it shows no sign of slowing down.”
For working parents, childcare is a big pressure over the school holidays, with an overwhelming 70% of working parents experiencing stress before or during the summer break. Cashflow is an added issue, with over a third of parents feeling concerned that they don’t have enough disposable income to keep their children entertained.
Leading by example
David Capper adds, “The state of the nation’s workplace wellbeing is at boiling point, with over a third (34%) of employees saying their workplace culture does not successfully support them with their wellbeing.
“When thinking about how to avoid burnout and prioritise recovery time in the workplace, it can be tempting to just look at initiatives such as flexible working or working from home. But the answer also lies in workplace culture – there’s limited benefit in implementing strict rules on leavism if senior leaders aren’t visibly living, breathing and prioritising those values.
“Cultural change takes time and requires input from people across the organisation. When employees see leaders practicing what they preach, it creates the psychological permission to mirror that behaviour. Creating an open culture also allows employees to speak openly about how they’re feeling, allowing managers to identify issues early and avoid a situation escalating to burnout.”
To find out more information about summer burnout, click here.
Westfield Health is an award-winning, not-for-profit health and wellbeing provider.
To read the full Wellbeing Index Report, click here.
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