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Press Release

Seventy Percent of Employees Are Significantly More Stressed During the Holidays, Virgin Pulse Survey Finds

Report Explores Causes of Employee Holiday Stress Levels and How Their Health, Focus, Productivity and Performance on the Job are Impacted

Framingham, Mass. - (December 17, 2014)

Whether it’s financial woes, family feuds, or simply balancing seasonal pressures with the rest of life, one thing’s clear: the holidays are stressful for almost everyone and they impact work. New data released today by Virgin Pulse, the market leader in the rapidly-growing employee health engagement category, finds that 70 percent of employees are significantly more stressed during the holidays. More than 10 percent of those respondents said they’re between a whopping 60 and 100 percent more stressed. The survey, ‘TIS THE SEASON FOR STRESS, features responses from 1,000 participants in the U.S. and Canada who are not current Virgin Pulse members.

“It’s no secret that for many, life is getting more complex and stressful each and every year. It’s become increasingly vital that employers help their teams better manage their stress and priorities – especially during the holidays – for each person to be their best and brightest selves, at work and in life,” said Chris Boyce, CEO of Virgin Pulse. “This time of year, it’s important we help employees stay on top of their work priorities and holiday check-lists. Supporting their health and happiness using tools, resources and programs that drive all aspects of their well-being will help them better keep their stress and health under control.”

The Seasonal Balancing Act
For most, the holiday stress starts early and hits hard, impacting employees well beyond their personal lives, ultimately affecting their work performance.

  • 64 percent of respondents say holiday-related stress causes them to be distracted at work
    • Holiday-related stress drives 30 percent more anxiety than usual and diminishes employees’ quality of work by about the same amount.
  • Two-thirds of respondents admit to using up to 60 percent of their workday to complete holiday prep work – like shopping, running errands and having conversations with family or friends.

What’s Behind Employees’ Stress?
With endless obligations around the holidays, the root of employees’ holiday season stress isn’t exactly unique.

  • 65 percent of respondents say shopping for gifts and necessities for events is to blame for their stress
  • 60 percent say maintaining finances is the reason behind their stress
  • 44 percent say crowds at the stores stress them out

It’s Not Easy to Maintain Well-Being
It looks like the stress – not to mention all that turkey and eggnog – is weighing on employee’s well-being.

  • Eating healthy is the hardest aspect of well-being to maintain during the holidays, according to 62 percent of respondents. Fifty-one percent reported exercise and 46 percent said sleep were the hardest areas of well-being to maintain.
    • 71 percent said they eat unhealthily between two and five days a week
    • 51 percent skip exercising between two and five days a week
    • 59 percent sleep poorly between two and five days a week

Is Lack of Experience to Blame?
The reason for younger employees’ burgeoning stress levels may simply come down to their experience, or lack thereof, planning and prepping for the holidays.

  • Young professionals (18-29) said they expect to be 45 percent more stressed this year than last, compared to just 30 percent of respondents between 45 and 60 years old.
  • Young professionals are also more than twice as likely than their seasoned counterparts to use up to 40 percent of their workday to focus on holiday-related tasks.

3 Tips to Keep Employees Happy and Healthy
Whatever the reason for employees’ holiday stress, employers are poised to support their people in better managing their seasonal priorities by offering programs that impact all areas of their well-being.

Employers can support employees during the holidays by encouraging them to focus on one priority to make daily progress, educating them on the benefits of healthy habits and introducing company-wide competitions to get everyone on board, and reminding them to unplug, relax, and recharge.

For the full report and three actionable tips to support your workforce this holiday season, download the full survey report

About Virgin Pulse
Virgin Pulse, part of Sir Richard Branson’s famed Virgin Group, helps employers create a workforce with the energy, focus, and drive necessary to fully engage at work and in life. With its award-winning, online platform, the company fosters healthy daily habits and sustainable behavior change that help employees thrive at work and across all aspects of life. Unlike narrowly-focused employee health and engagement solutions, Virgin Pulse is a hub of consumer-focused strategies and innovative tools that set the foundation for a company’s engagement efforts. More than 250 industry leaders representing more than 2 million employees have selected Virgin Pulse’s programs to reinvigorate their workplace. Learn more at