Yorkshire workers have the best work-life balance says survey

26 April 2012

Workers in the North East most likely to relieve work stress with alcohol, says Nuffield Health Survey

The devastating impact on work / life balance for those living in the North East since the start of the economic downturn can be revealed today.

A survey of 1,500 workers across the UK shows that two fifths (40%) of workers in the North East feel more pressure at work since the economic downturn, a third (29%) feel more stressed by their work, and a fifth (19%) feel more stressed about work even when they are not there. Two fifths (40%) of those surveyed said they relieve work related stress with alcohol – the highest figure in the country.

The good news is, however, that North East workers are the least likely to work unpaid overtime.

These are the findings of a survey carried out by Nuffield Health, the UK’s largest healthcare charity, which shows how the economic downturn has affected workers’ lives. The survey also reveals:

  • 14% of North East workers are working longer hours
  • 12% of North East workers are having to work weekends
  • 9% of North East workers are taking less holiday entitlement

Marcus Powell, Managing Director, Corporate Wellbeing, Nuffield Health, said:

This study provides an interesting insight into people’s work and home lives since the beginning of the economic downturn.

It shows workers in the North East are feeling more stressed, often caused by work, and have less time for their loved ones. More worryingly a large number of people are using alcohol to cope with work stress.

We would encourage every worker to think about how they can improve their wellbeing at work and at home.

The survey shows that workers in the North East are doing the least unpaid overtime. More than two thirds (69%) of workers have never done unpaid overtime or have not done any extra since the start of the economic downturn. However, 16% of those surveyed are working between one and seven hours more per week, while 7% are working between eight and 20 hours per week more.

14% of workers in the North East said they failed to take their full holiday entitlement in the last year.

Almost half (46%) of those surveyed said they spend less time with their families, with the same number saying that they are less tolerant and argue with them more.

Those in the North East, a massive 40% and the highest figure in the country, said they use alcohol to relieve work stress, while only 17% said they exercise at the gym or run outdoors.

Dr Sarah Dauncey, Medical Director for Consumer Wellbeing, said:

It is worrying that more people are using alcohol to relieve work stress than are exercising. Exercise is excellent for helping to manage stress. It gives you time to unwind from work stresses. The exercise leads to a natural release of endorphins which provide that all-important feel-good factor.

Richard Vanson, Fitness and Wellbeing Manager, Nuffield Health Harrogate said:

Exercise is a fantastic stress reliever and you don’t have to spend hours a day to feel the benefit. The less active you are, the less you will feel like moving so the most important thing is to find something that you enjoy doing, even if it is for a short time every. Try parking the car further away from work or getting out of the office to go and buy lunch. Our survey shows that people are spending less time with the family and using alcohol as way of relieving stress. There is nothing wrong with having a drink in moderation so why not combine the two and take the family for a nice long walk and enjoy lunch or a drink along the way.


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