How to spot the signs of an overworked employee

David Castillo Dominici

David Castillo Dominici

Advances in technology have made remote working easier than ever which means that many companies now offer flexible working. The downside to this however is that we now live in a world where it’s incredibly difficult to switch off because we have constant access to emails and work systems.

The result of this is that on-the-job stress has become one of the top causes of employee dissatisfaction and some of the statistics are particularly worrying:

  • 40% of employees say that their job is very or extremely stressful
  • One in four employees say that their job is the number one stressor in their lives
  • 35% say that the stress of their job is interfering with their family or personal time
  • 66% suffer from stress-induced health issues

What causes employee stress?

What exactly is causing employees to feel so stressed out? According to statistics, the biggest contributing factors include:

Low pay – 14%

A long commute – 11%

An unreasonable workload – 9%

A fear of being fired or made redundant – 9%

Annoying co-workers – 8%

Not getting on with the boss – 5%

A poor work-life balance – 5%

Lack of opportunity for advancement – 4%

How do you know when an employee is stressed out?

It can be difficult to spot the signs of an overworked employee if you are very busy yourself or your staff are good at hiding their feelings. Below are some telltale signs that an employee may be feeling the strain:

  • They appear angry and irritable
  • Their memory is poor
  • Their quality of work has declined
  • They change their working hours
  • They seem fatigued
  • Bad time management
  • They start to call in sick more often. More than half of employees say that they have called in sick when they haven’t actually been ill and 62% say they did this because of work-related stress.

Workplace stress has become so common that psychologist, Dr Connie Lillas has developed a driving analogy that describes the three most common responses to stress.

Foot on the gas – the worker may become heated, overly emotional and unable to stay still

Foot on the brake – employees may become withdrawn and unresponsive while showing little energy

Foot on the gas and brake – although the worker may show little emotion on the surface, he or she may be extremely agitated beneath

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