A poll has found that the need to take on extra responsibilities when other employees take their annual leave is causing extra stress for colleagues left behind in the office.
Nearly a third of more than 2,000 workers surveyed by Sovereign Health Care cited covering holiday time for their colleagues as increasingly stressful for them.
The only factor to come ahead of this in the professional pressure league is the prospect of facing redundancy, at 38%.
Over half of employees questioned reported an increase in stress levels at work compared with the previous year, while three out of five said they receive minimal or less support than what is legally required from their bosses.
When it comes to personal stress, employees are found to be more fraught when their colleagues go on holiday than when they themselves are moving house (27%), or experiencing a relationship breakdown or divorce (26%).
Russ Piper, chief executive of Sovereign Health Care, said: "It's even more important that employers step up the wellbeing support they provide for employees to try and help ease some of the additional burden."
Copyright Press Association 2011
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"Agenda for Change gave staff more holidays and thereby created a monster. Add in the notorious levels of sickness absence prevalent within the NHS and you have a major problem on your hands. What are managers expected to do? I would guess that most GP practices don't have a bottomless pit of staff resources at their disposal and with practice finances being squeezed ever harder, recruiting additional staff is simply not an option. It's stressful for managers too trying to keep their surgeries running efficiently when staff are absent. It's swings and roundabouts, employees have to cover each other and simply get on with it" – Trevor Ledger, South Yorkshire