December is the hardest, most stressful month of the year for millions of small business employees, as the need to balance work with increasing family commitments combine with colleagues taking last minute holidays to pile on the pressure, new research has shown.
A nationwide survey conducted amongst millions of UK workers by insurer MetLife has found that 38 per cent of employees believe an imbalance of commitments between work and life to be the most stressful aspect of the final month of the year, whilst 32 per cent feel the biggest driver of stress is holiday taken by fellow workers.
Indeed, 42 per cent of workers describe December as the toughest month of the year, whilst 37 per cent claim to miss out on work Christmas parties as a result of holiday-season stress.
Commenting on the research, Metlife employee benefits director Tom Gaynor said: Employers and particularly managers can benefit from recognising the signs of workplace stress and taking early action to help employees cope, including a focus on physical and mental health at work.
Further research conducted by Willis PMI Group has found that almost a quarter of UK workers are affected by ‘seasonal affective disorder? also known as winter depression? which can severely impact an employee’s mood and is believed to be the result of hormone depletion caused by lack of sunlight during winter months.
Director at Willis PMI Mike Blake said that while many employers encounter seasonal affective disorder there is not enough access to information about the condition.
although not all HR professionals are aware of this, it is reassuring that 79 per cent recognise the disorder’s authenticity as it can have far reaching effects on employees? mood and productivity, said Blake.
A third of UK workers reported to be stressed and overwhelmed by distractions, especially towards the end of the year, according to office-space designers Steelcase. Respondents to a poll conducted amongst office workers in nine countries also cited loud conversations in workplaces, too many emails and problems with technology combining to create stress.
our poll has shown that many workers feel overwhelmed all year round the Christmas period will undoubtedly exasperate this, said vice president at Steelcase UK, Bostjan Ljubic. During the Christmas period many of us may feel snowed under. An inability to focus negatively affects productivity, engagement, wellbeing and overall performance in organisations.