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Back to work stress 'hits three out of four employees'

04 January 2016

The New Year return to work will increase workplace stress for nearly three out of four employees as the holiday glow quickly fades, new research* from MetLife Employee Benefits shows.

A minority of employees – just 27% - don’t find the return to work after Christmas and New Year celebrations at all stressful – and the different causes of stress identified by the study highlight the growing pressures in the workplace and possible lessons for employers.

The biggest cause of stress identified by 43% of employees will be readjusting after taking time off. However, for 31% the main worry will be catching up with work backlogs caused by having to take time off. And 25% will be battling financial pressures caused by Christmas spending.

Older workers are likely to find the return to work the least stressful – around two out of five employees aged 55 plus say they do not worry about going back to work. This falls to around one in five employees aged between 18 and 34.

MetLife Employee Benefits is highlighting the need to increase awareness of organisational resilience and training to help overcome negative feelings at work and to improve mental and physical wellness in the workplace.

Tom Gaynor, employee benefits director of MetLife UK, said: “Making the most of time away from work is important and employees need to be able to relax.

“Of course it is a bit of a shock to the system having to go back to routines after holidays but readjusting should not be a cause of stress and worry. However, it seems it is a concern for many people as they worry about catching up with backlogs at work.

“Workplace stress is a major issue for employers and employees and it has a real impact on business performance. There are, however, a range of practical steps companies can take which help address the issues before they become a major problem.”

The research was conducted  online between December 1 and 4 December 2015 among a nationally representative sample of 1067 full time employees aged 18+ by independent market research firm Consumer Intelligence.