Holiday taken by colleagues increases workloads and chance of panic attacks for other employees

More than a third of UK employees feel overwhelmed when they have to cover their colleagues work whilst they are on holiday leading to extreme pressure or even panic attacks.

This study was conducted by Cornerstone OnDemand, a cloud-based learning and talent management software provider who discovered that 34 per cent of UK workers struggle to take on other employees work when they leave for holiday.

Just under half (48 per cent) are more likely to work through lunch in order to complete their colleagues work. The younger section of the workforce is more susceptible to this feeling as 43 per cent of 18 to 24-year olds suffer from extreme pressure or having panic attacks I comparison to 24 per cent of 45 to 54-year olds.

The top cities where employees are most likely to feel extreme pressure or have a panic attack whilst taking a colleagues work on are:

  • Liverpool – 42 per cent
  • Oxford – 41 per cent
  • Leeds – 39 per cent
  • London – 35 per cent
  • Birmingham – 34 per cent


Liggy Webb, CEO of The Learning Architect, a company that tries to equip and empower people to adapt in a changing world said:

The pressure of modern living has led to a growing epidemic in the workplace, stress. 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.

However, Susan Hilliar, head of communications EMEA at Cornerstone OnDemand believes this is an ideal time for employees to add to their skill sets as they are taking on the work load of their colleagues.

Ms Hilliar said:

It’s positive to see that although workloads increase during summer period, employees benefit from the additional work. 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.

Interested in wellbeing? We recommend the Workplace Wellbeing and Stress Forum 2019.





Darius is the editor of HRreview. He has previously worked as a finance reporter for the Daily Express. He studied his journalism masters at Press Association Training and graduated from the University of York with a degree in History.