Taking on colleague’s work means stress for majority of workers.

Stretched for summer.

A study from Cornerstone OnDemand has found that 81 per cent of Brits will take on a colleague’s workload in their absence. Furthermore, while taking on a colleague’s workload, 48 per cent of Brits are more likely to work through their lunch break or work more than their working hours, contributing to the feeling of extreme pressure. 

Unsurprisingly, many Brits feel overwhelmed with the amount of work they must take on and over a third of Brits (34 per cent) feel extreme pressure or have panic attacks while taking on someone else’s work on top of their own.

Top 10 cities where employees are more likely to feel extreme pressure/have a panic attack when taking on a colleagues’ work while they’re away
City Percentage
Liverpool 42 per cent
Oxford 41 per cent
Leeds 39 per cent
London 35 per cent
Birmingham 34 per cent
Newcastle 34 per cent
Nottingham 34 per cent
Manchester 33 per cent
Southampton 31 per cent
Edinburgh 28 per cent


“The pressure of modern living has led to a growing epidemic in the workplace, stress,” said Liggy Webb, CEO of The Learning Architect. “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.”

Taking on another colleague’s workload on top of their own is particularly felt by younger generations with 43 per cent of 18 to 24-year olds feeling extreme pressure or having panic attacks vs 24 per cent of 45 to 54-year olds.

However, while nearly half of Brits (48 per cent) feel relieved when their colleagues come back from their time off, two-fifths of Brits (40 per cent) feel that their senior colleagues trust them to take on more responsibility and 32 per cent feel that they learnt more by taking on a senior colleagues work than in the last month of their own role. Employees also use their colleague’s absence to learn and develop their own skills with 39 per cent of Brits learning more skills as a result of taking on their colleagues’ workload.

“It’s positive to see that although workloads increase during summer period, employees benefit from the additional work,” said Susan Hilliar, Head of Communications EMEA, Cornerstone OnDemand. “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.

“By undertaking new tasks and exploring new roles, employees are able to expand their potential career path while employers can rest assured that their workforce is working efficiently even with team absences,” she concluded.

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