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Watch out for rise in January stress levels warns Ceridian

According to analysis of data on a sample of 150,000 client employees by Ceridian, one of the largest providers of quality human resource processing, outsourcing and consulting solutions in the world, the period immediately after Christmas sees anxiety levels rise by at least a third as employees worry about returning to work and the state of their personal relationships.

In January 2004, Ceridian counsellors recorded a 31% overall increase in calls over the previous month to its LifeWorks division from client staff benefiting from an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP). In January 2005, the number of calls overall rose still further, by 44%, compared to December 2004. The top ten issues they dealt with over the 2004/05 Christmas period were as follows:

Top 10 Issues over Christmas Period - December 2004 vs January 2005 % Rise
1 Anxiety and distress at thought of returning to work /relationship issues 18%
2 Legal queries on marriage and divorce 79%
3 Legal queries over Christmas presents received /sale goods purchased 80%
4 Demand for health/holiday advice 144%
5 Legal queries over property moves in the New Year 50%
6 Relationship advice as issues come to a head after Christmas 109%
7 Policy/procedure queries in order to resolve work issues in the New Year 260%
8 Work/life balance issues 1400%
9 Feelings of loss over a bereavement reinforced by the festive season 7%
10 Motoring offences - drink-driving/speeding 75%

According to Doug Sawers, Managing Director of Ceridian in the UK: "Evidently, Christmas is a stressful time, when matters come to a head. After a hard year, employees tend to let their hair down, relax and start thinking about the future. This can result in a personal resolve to change things that worry them. Immediately after Christmas, more people want advice on the issues that concern them. Employers should be prepared for the post Christmas blues, and for the impact this has on employee engagement!

"Simply providing employees with extra support or advice can lessen the impact on productivity by helping them to resolve the issues that are bothering them. At a time when many businesses are focused on targets, plans and goals, it's important to be alert for employees who need extra help with personal issues to prevent longer term performance issues."

The analysis of post-Christmas calls to Ceridian's LifeWorks EAP service covered a sample of 150,000 client employees.

Ceridian's EAP solution, LifeWorks, provides employees with 24/7 all-year round counselling, information, support, customised searches and supporting publications. Besides covering workplace issues, LifeWorks handles issues covering disability, early childhood, elder care, individual, legal/financial and school age.

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