United Kingdom

UK’s young adults suffer workplace stress more than older workers

April 2019

At a glance

  • Younger employees are more likely to take home work stress
  • Work stress negatively impacts quality of sleep
  • Sleep deprivation is a contemporary driver of poor mental health

People chatting at desks

Millennials are experiencing sleep deprivation and weight loss due to workplace stress, research by a healthcare employment firm has found.

Is sleep affecting your younger workforce?

Cygnet Jobs, which carried out the study of 1,001 UK employees, found that 73 per cent of 25 to 35 year olds have recently taken workplace stresses home.

The survey showed that 62 per cent of young adults felt sleep deprived due to career stress and 22 per cent said they were losing weight because of it. In comparison, only 9 per cent of workers aged 55 or over, said they too had taken workplace stress home.

The impact of work stress on sleep and the workforce

Rowan Marriott, head of resourcing at Cygnet Jobs said the research indicated that for older workers workplace happiness becomes more important as they age. The research highlights how many people in the UK, especially those aged between 25 and 55 are overworked and stressed.

He said: “With work affecting their sleep, those people will soon become regularly irritable and potentially unwell. Most of us have the odd stressful day at work, but the long-term effects of being unhappy in the workplace can be very negative to someone’s mental and physical health.”

Charles Alberts, head of health management at Aon said the survey highlighted two important issues around wellbeing: the overall impact of work-related stress on wellbeing and sleep quality and how different age groups experience stress. The Aon Contemporary Drivers of Mental Health report in particular revealed how poor sleep was a driver to poor mental health.

“Inadequate sleep impacts on the whole person – their mood, energy, ability to concentrate, relationships,” Alberts said. “And it can be a vicious circle with stress and poor sleep impacting on each other. Better sleep is a magic pill that improves the employee’s quality of life both in and out of work. And the best thing about sleep is that the effects are almost instantaneous– a good night’s sleep can positively impact the employee and their work the very next day.”

But during a poll conducted as part of the Aon Contemporary Drivers of Mental Health seminar at the end of 2018, employers rated divorce and separation, money and debt, and bullying and harassment as the top three concerns, with sleep deprivation towards the bottom of the list. This suggests that despite its far-reaching impact, sleep is not yet on the corporate agenda – more work needs to be done in this area.

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