Binge working causes stress in the City

Sep 28 2005 by Brian Amble Print This Article

A growing number of people working in London's financial sector are so stressed by their jobs that many resort to 'pulling sickies' just for the chance to recover or spend more time with their families.

Employees are also working weekends and many admit they are so snowed under with work that they are sacrificing their bank holidays too.

According to 'City Working', a survey by recruitment agency Healy Hunt, almost two-thirds of workers have taken time off sick to spend time with their families while one in five admit to taking time off simply because they can't face the day.

Almost one in 10 (8 per cent) have called in sick due to exhaustion.

Six out of 10 of those surveyed were under 35, ranging from executive to director level.

Despite taking days off sick to deal with life outside the workplace, many people are still not taking full advantage of their annual leave entitlement.

Almost six out of 10 have worked at least one bank holiday this year and one in seven of these have worked all five bank holidays. One in three also admit to having worked at least four weekends in the last two months.

Overall, six out of 10 say they're unable to take their full holiday entitlement - two fifths because the year passes by too quickly and the rest because the amount of work they're expected to get done makes taking a holiday unrealistic.

For two-thirds of those surveyed, work is the biggest cause of stress in their lives Ė above paying the mortgage and bills (15 per cent), children (10 per cent), personal relationships (4 per cent), health (3 per cent) and getting older (3 per cent).

And with six out of 10 working beyond their contracted hours each day, it is little wonder that the majority of those questioned say they feel they're not doing their professional or personal lives justice.

"It's obvious from these results that there is something very wrong with workplace culture, and management must consider the mental well-being of their staff if they are to be sure of a productive workforce," said Healy Hunt's Paul Hunt.

"We hear the phrase work/ life balance bandied around an awful lot these days, but when we see that work is making such a high percentage of UK employees stressed and unhappy, it's vital that employers deal with the problem, rather than simply brush it under the carpet."