It's likely your employees have been feeling a bit more pressure than usual in recent months, new research finds.
The holidays have brought an added level of stress to the majority of workers, according to a study from Virgin Pulse, a provider of employee health and engagement solutions. Specifically, 70 percent of employees are significantly more stressed during the holiday season, with 10 percent estimating that their stress level has increased from 60 to 100 percent more than usual.
"It’s become increasingly vital that employers help their teams better manage their stress and priorities – especially during the holidays," Chris Boyce, CEO of Virgin Pulse, said in a statement.
The added stress is definitely hurting employee performance, the research shows. More than 60 percent of the workers surveyed said holiday stress is distracting them from getting work done, while 30 percent said the extra anxiety is diminishing their quality of work. [Home Life Plays Big Role in Work Stress ]
The added stress has been affecting employees for a while now. The study discovered that 20 percent of workers started worrying about the winter holidays in October, with one-third saying their stress spikes in mid- to late-November.
Those being hit hardest by increased stress are the youngest members of the workforce. Employees between ages 18 and 29 expect to be 45 percent more stressed this year than last, compared with just 30 percent of workers between ages 45 and 60.
There are several factors contributing to employees' increased anxiety around the holidays. The study revealed that 43 percent blame their added stress on having a tougher time balancing their holiday and work responsibilities, with 65 percent believing that shopping for gifts and other holiday necessities is to blame for their stress. In addition, 60 percent think the need to maintain their finances is the cause behind their stress.
Regardless of the cause, employers need to do their part to help support employees during the holidays, according to Virgin Pulse. To help keep stress levels in check, Virgin Pulse recommends:
- Encouraging employees to focus on one priority to make daily progress.
- Educating workers on the benefits of healthy habits.
- Creating companywide healthy-habits competitions to get everyone involved.
- Reminding workers to unplug, relax and recharge.
The study was based on surveys of 1,000 workers in the United States and Canada.