1 in 10 employees find discussing salary the most stressful aspect of work, survey reveals

The National Decommission Centre
  • 1 in 10 (12%) of the nation’s employees find negotiating a pay increase or discussing career progression to be the most stressful aspect of work.
  • The findings come from Just Eat for Business’ Stress Awareness Report, which identifies work aspects that are negatively affecting mental health.
  • While salary discussions were stressful for many, other taxing work aspects include meeting deadlines, disagreeing with colleagues, and social events.
  • The survey also found that 67% of the nation’s workers have seen work stress significantly impact their personal life, promoting a poor work/life balance.

1 in 10 of the nation’s employees struggle to handle salary negotiations and discussions about career progression, considering them to be the most stressful aspect of work.

The findings come from Just Eat for Business’ Stress Awareness Report, which looked to identify what workers consider to be the most intimidating or stressful elements of their work week, and discover how this impacts their day-to-day performance and morale.

The study found that for 12% of employees, crucial discussions around pay increases, salary negotiations, career progression or development were the biggest triggers for stress. 

This won’t be a surprise for many, given that the nation’s employees are actively discouraged from discussing their earnings with colleagues, and are usually disparaged from asking for a pay rise or bonus by employers unless during set pay review periods.

However, it’s concerning that so many people feel uncomfortable about having these discussions, given they’re key for work satisfaction – especially given the rising cost of living. 

Other stressful aspects of work identified in the survey came out as maintaining a work life balance (30%), meeting deadlines and dealing with workload (26%), and disagreements with colleagues (16%).

Interestingly, some employees also considered attending social occasions at work to be the most stressful aspect (9%), and attending collaborative meetings in work hours (7%). 

It’s vital that employers look to reduce these triggers, as regular intensive periods of stress at work can cause burnout, described by the World Health Organization as a ‘state of physical and mental exhaustion’, and has been deemed as an ‘occupational phenomenon’.

Sadly, many people have experienced this occupational phenomenon in increasing amounts over the past two years, with the survey showing that 44% of the UK’s office workers sometimes or often feel burnout due to work. 

Furthermore, over two thirds (67%) of people surveyed admitted that stress from work has significantly impacted their at-home life, making it unsurprising that so many people struggle to switch off after work and maintain a healthy work/life balance.

When asked what they’d like to change about their working environment to reduce stress, two fifths (39%) of employees said trialling a four day working week. 

Dr Anneli Gascoyne, Associate Professor in Occupational Psychology, speaks on the importance of reducing stress by taking regular breaks, saying: “When we take breaks from our work, we have the opportunity to take a break from the stress associated with work.

“When we focus solely on our work over an extended period, we can find ourselves on autopilot before suddenly realising how much time has passed that wasn’t being used effectively, and become unaware that we’ve been in an extended period of stress and worry.”

Rosie Hyam, People Partner at Just Eat for Business adds to the expert commentary, saying: “Regardless of how teams are working – whether it’s in the office, at home, or a hybrid solution – it’s essential to take regular breaks to reduce stress. Without these, it’s not surprising that so many workers are feeling more burnt out than before.

“Given the emphasis currently being placed on health and wellbeing, it’s important that employers and employees prioritise sustainable and healthy working habits – including leaving work issues at the office door, and setting time aside to socialise with colleagues.”

To see the full results of the Stress Awareness Report, please visit: https://business.just-eat.co.uk/blog/stress-at-work-our-report 

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