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Work stress peaks in run up to Christmas

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Work-life balance and colleagues taking holiday piles on the pressure, MetLife research shows. And nearly two out of five won’t attend their employer’s Christmas party. 

Few see Christmas as the most wonderful time of the year. In fact 42 percent say December is one of the most stressful months of the year. Balancing work and family life and the rush to take holidays before the year-end piles on the pressure, new research* from MetLife Employee Benefits shows. Its research shows the biggest cause of stress in December is balancing work and home life, which was identified by 38 percent, while colleagues taking holidays was cited by 32 percent as a driver of stress.

With such high stress levels, letting their hair down at their Christmas party is not much consolation for many employees. 18 percent do not have a Christmas celebration at work, and for those that do, around two in five (37 percent) choose not to go.  41 percent of those who are not going say they prefer to keep their work and home life separate while 24 percent say the date clashes with family duties. Tom Gaynor, Employee Benefits Director of MetLife UK, said: “Stress is a major issue at work and has a major impact on business performance.  Unfortunately it doesn’t go away at Christmas.

“It is a pity that many people want to opt out of Christmas celebrations at work but it is clear that juggling home life and year-end work pressures is tough for millions of employees. 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.”

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