Some 69 per cent of employees say their workload increases in the run-up to Christmas, on average by around 30 per cent, according to research from AXA PPP healthcare.
Its poll of 2,000 people found that 68 per cent of employees think about work over Christmas and over a fifth check work calls and emails several times a day over Christmas. The countdown to Christmas should come with a health warning as stress, exhaustion and illness – dubbed ‘Festive Burnout’ – prepares to strike offices, according to research from AXA PPP healthcare.
It also found that, whilst one in four people say that Christmas is their favourite time of the year, a third tend to start their holiday feeling burnt out from the stress of the run-up to the holiday break. For many, it is downhill from there:
Three-quarters of workers say they’ve been struck by Christmas sickness – for over a quarter, this is a regular occurrence.
– For nearly half, their illness lasts for two or more days.
– 36 per cent have had to cancel plans with family and friends because of what AXA PPP healthcare dubs “Festive Burnout”.
– Festive Burnout hits the legal profession, entertainment and travel & tourism industries hardest, with over 80 per cent having suffered from illness over their Christmas holidays.
The stress of the festive countdown and holiday period is so severe that over a quarter wish they could skip Christmas entirely and 41 per cent return to work after Christmas feeling relieved to be back, shattered from the holiday season or worried about their heavy workload.
AXA PPP healthcare’s Director of Psychological Services, Dr Mark Winwood, said: “For many employees Christmas is full of stress and pressure and the chance to recharge their batteries is overshadowed by exhaustion and illness. Prior to the holidays, employers need to take precautionary steps to ensure that their employees get through this hectic period and come back firing on all cylinders in January.”
The company suggested providing support services for stressed out employees, being realistic about what can be done and ensuring business continuity were key to helping employees make it through the Christmas break.