Research by UK health cash plan provider, Medicash, has suggested that the Christmas break may offer no relief from workplace stress for UK workers, which will not benefit employers considering stress-related sick leave costs UK employers £3.7bn a year.

The study found that 73% of respondents are worried that work will ruin their time off work; while 27.7% said that they were concerned they would miss out on a full Christmas break by having to work over the festive period.

In addition to this, 23% of the 1,000 workers who were surveyed said that their Christmas would be plagued by thoughts of work, with 41% feeling pressured to take on more work during the holiday season in order to cover the cost of the festivities.

Commenting on these figures and how it could affect employers, Sue Weir, CEO of Medicash, said:

“The Christmas break can offer a welcome reprieve from the stresses and pressures of work, however the results of the survey show that for many, this might not be the case.

“Workplace stress is a very real issue affecting over 400,000 people in the UK every year, amounting to 10.4 million lost working days and costing UK businesses an average of £3.7bn each year.”

She added:

“The results of the study are very troubling, showing that many people not only feel pressured to take on extra work to pay for Christmas, but also feel an inability to relax and switch-off over the holiday period.

“It’s important that employers are aware of this issue and make every effort to avoid making unrealistic demands on their employees, which can result in adding extra pressure and strain, to what is traditionally an extremely stressful time of year.”