UK Christmas blighted by workplace stress, a new survey reveals

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73% of workers worried about work in the run up to the festive season

50% expect Christmas to be interrupted by work. A new survey has revealed that the Christmas break may offer no relief from workplace stress for UK workers, with a staggering 73per cent of people worried that work will spoil their Christmas cheer.

The study, commissioned by leading UK health cash plan provider (HCP) Medicash, found that over a quarter of people (27.7%) worried that they would end up missing out by having to work over the festive season, while over 23per cent worried that their Christmas would be plagued by thoughts of work.

Surveying over 1000 workers across the UK, the study found that although 58per cent of people had not voluntarily taken extra hours during the Christmas period, over half (50.5%), had previously had their Christmas break interrupted by work, with 37per cent admitting it had happened more than once.

Results showed that people working in the IT and Telecoms sector were more likely to have to work over Christmas (39.8%), followed closely by retail, catering and leisure workers (39.4%). People working in the finance sector were most likely to be distracted from Christmas merriment by thoughts of heavy workloads and looming deadlines (39%), while those working in the professional services sector were the most worried that they wouldn’t get their work finished in time for the holidays.

Workers in the North of England were most worried about having to work through the holidays, with Manchester coming out on top (40%), followed by Newcastle (34%) and Liverpool (31%) and in the Midlands, Birmingham (29.8%).

The research also revealed that over 41 per cent of all respondents felt pressure to take on more hours during the holiday season to cover the cost of the festivities, which was the highest in Newcastle (34%), followed by Manchester (32.2%).

Results also showed that respondents in the South of England are the most likely to be plagued by thoughts of work this Christmas, with the highest number of respondents in Plymouth (28.6%), followed closely by London (27.3%) and Southampton (26.8%).

Commenting on the findings, Sue Weir CEO of Medicash, which commissioned the study, said: “The Christmas break can offer a welcome reprieve from the stresses and pressures of work, however the results of the survey show that for many, this might not be the case.

“Workplace stress is a very real issue affecting over 400,000 people in the UK every year, amounting to 10.4 million lost working days and costing UK businesses an average of £3.7bn each year.

“The results of the study are very troubling, showing that many people not only feel pressured to take on extra work to pay for Christmas, but also feel an inability to relax and switch-off over the holiday period.

“It’s important that employers are aware of this issue and make every effort to avoid making unrealistic demands on their employees, which can result in adding extra pressure and strain, to what is traditionally an extremely stressful time of year.”

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