Employers have been urged to keep an eye out for workers suffering from stress this Christmas.
The Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) said the credit crunch was putting extra pressure on people in both their personal and professional lives.
It said this could lead to dangerous levels of stress at a time of year that is already frantic due to the Christmas build-up.
IOSH president Nattasha Freeman said: “The last few weeks before Christmas are traditionally busy times as people go out to buy last-minute presents.
“This rush places extra demands on employees who are already likely to be working at capacity, so employers need to watch out for signs that their employees are unable to cope.”
Excessive pressure can lead to employers losing workers through ill health, Freeman said.
She added: “To help relieve the situation, employers should look at what minor adjustments they can make. These could include ensuring staff take proper breaks and have someone they can talk to.”
IOSH said common signs of stress include:
Increased susceptibility to colds and other infections
Tiredness and sleep difficulties
Back and neckache
Wanting to cry
Eating when you’re not hungry
Smoking and drinking excessively
Loss of motivation and commitment