More than a third (34%) of staff claim they feel under “extreme” pressure or have panic attacks because of the amount of work they must take on while their colleagues are on holiday, with many working longer hours to complete their tasks.
With the holiday season in full swing, a survey of more than 2,000 workers found 81% would take on a colleague’s workload in their absence in addition to their own work.
Mental health and wellbeing
However, for 48%, this meant they had to work through their lunchbreak or work beyond their usual working hours to get everything done, contributing to feelings of “extreme pressure”, according to software provider Cornerstone OnDemand.
The pressure to take on additional tasks was felt by staff aged 18 to 24 in particular. Forty-three per cent of employees in this age group said it caused them to feel pressured or experienced panic attacks, compared with 24% of 45- to 54-year-olds.
Liggy Webb, CEO of training provider The Learning Architect, said: “The pressure of modern living has led to a growing epidemic in the workplace: stress. Of course, everyone is entitled to their annual leave and those that are left in the office may need to support the workload, but overworking and unrealistic demands will lead to burnout and ultimately, impact business success.
“Knowing that increased stress is felt during the summer period, organisations can now prioritise workplace wellbeing and ensure that their workforce is happy and healthy all year long.”
Despite feeling under pressure, 39% said taking on a colleagues’ tasks while they were away helped develop new skills and 32% felt they learnt more by taking on a senior colleagues’ work than what they had learnt in the last month of their own role.
“It’s positive to see that although workloads increase during summer period, employees benefit from the additional work. Many employees are using this time to learn new skills and develop their career by taking on a more senior colleagues’ workload, which not only builds their confidence and understanding but gives them a better appreciation of the business as a whole.” said Susan Hilliar, head of communications EMEA at Cornerstone OnDemand.