Traditional values tell us that a solid day’s work is something to strive for, which it sometimes is, but as we all know, a long day is not always productive. Furthermore, too many solid days can lead to stress and burnout, costing the economy billions annually.

young woman with too much work

Why does having too much work cause stress?

Stress is a natural reaction to external pressure, and sometimes that pressure is motivating. However, when stress becomes too much, it can take over a person's life at work and home.


We all know what immediate stress feels like. The heart races and breathing becomes shallow and quick. In other words, the fight-or-flight response is activated.

Employees may feel this when presented with an ever-growing to-do list or when they have been given a new responsibility they did not want.

When the flight or fight response is activated too often, it can result in long-term stress.

If someone feels they are experiencing symptoms of long-term stress, they should talk to a GP, especially if they have the following signs and symptoms:

  • Frequent negative emotions
  • Fleeting thoughts
  • A lack of focus
  • Physically drained, tense, or sore
  • Coping by drinking or smoking
  • Aggressive behaviour

What is employee wellbeing and how does it relate to stress?

Employee wellbeing is a term that describes the physical, emotional, and financial health of your teams — sometimes referred to as the 3 pillars of employee wellbeing.

If any one of these wellbeing pillars is neglected, it can affect an employee's attitude at work and even their productivity.

To support employee wellbeing, more organisations are turning to all-in-one employee solutions, such as Perkbox to meet their employees' needs.

Financial wellbeing

Due to the rising cost of living, employees are thinking more about stretching their salaries further. With Perkbox, your teams get access to over 9,000 discounts and deals. So they can save money on groceries, meals out, and even holidays. 

Mental and emotional wellbeing

To help support your team's mental and emotional wellbeing, Perkbox includes an ever-expanding library of ad-free resources. Whether your teams want to unwind with a relaxing yoga flow or drift off to a soothing sleep story, there is something for every mood.

Physical wellbeing

From energizing HIIT workouts to muscle-building strength sessions. Not to mention, there are countless health webinars on nutrition, gut health, running, and more. All workouts can be completed from home with minimal or no equipment necessary. Plus, offering a comprehensive health resource is a great way of helping employees fit physical exercise into their daily wellbeing routine.


Give your employees the tools they need to take care of their wellbeing

Reduce stress at work with open communication

It's important to know when your employees are feeling overwhelmed. Letting them suffer in silence will not only make the situation worse for them but could also harm your company culture.

Regular surveys and polls are excellent tools for gaining insight into employee attitudes, and this allows you to make meaningful improvements.

For example, do you need to hire more people, and what does this look like? Would freelancers be more suitable or permanent members of staff? 

With Perkbox, you can use plenty of poll templates to get quick replies from your teams. Plus, you can create your own when needed.  

5 ways to reduce stress because of too much work

To avoid burnout, overwhelm, or stress, there are several things employees and employers can do.

1. Openly communicate

Approaching difficult or sensitive topics with management is never easy. If possible, try to think of some solutions before the meeting. For example, can deadlines be extended? Is there someone else who can pick up a bit of the slack?

It's important to highlight that overwhelm will no doubt affect the quality of the work being produced. Of course, when everything becomes a priority, nothing is a priority.

meeting with boss

2. Learn not to say yes to everything

Nobody can do everything, and saying no politely can show strength and self-knowledge. Setting boundaries is an important part of life, both in a professional and personal sense. Naturally, most people want to be helpful, but overpromising and underdelivering doesn't benefit anyone.

3. Break down daunting tasks

Doing the smallest part of a task is progress in the right direction. Breaking down big tasks into small achievable chunks helps with consolidation and reduces that sinking feeling of overwhelm. Plus, that feeling of achievement when ticking something off a list, no matter how small, keeps the momentum going.

4. Use the Pomodoro Technique

The Pomodoro Technique involves setting a timer for work and breaks. Ideally, the timer for work should range from 10—30 minutes. When the time is up, a break is taken for 10 minutes, and the timer is reset.

Usually, people find just one cycle of the Pomodoro Technique gives them that surge of energy they need to get started. But on particularly disruptive days, a person consistently sets cycles to keep them on track. 

5. Improve work-life balance

Staying in touch with friends and feeling part of a community is one of the best steps a person can take to prevent themselves from becoming overwhelmed and stressed. Don't forget a problem shared is a problem halved.

very tired humans. Don

How to cope with too much to do at work

As a society, we are improving how we talk about our mental wellbeing, but there is still a long way to go. Talking to a coworker, manager, or someone disconnected from work entirely in times of stress can really help.

Be active. Physical activity helps the brain switch gears when it's in a rut and triggers the release of endorphins. But don't force it. Choose an enjoyable exercise or workout. Remember, the goal is to feel better, not disheartened. If running isn’t enjoyable, swap it for frisbee or salsa dancing. It doesn’t matter what the activity is — just do something.

Another important step is to recognise the source of stress. Understanding why a particular situation or environment triggers stress or overwhelm can help a person develop strategies to overcome it. If that is not an option, taking a step back to explore an alternative way of achieving the same result without the stress is also incredibly valuable.

people working together, maybe even delegated?

Perkbox can help you reach your employee experience goals

No organisation wants to overwhelm its employees, but as deadlines loom, it's easy to fall into bad habits and expect your employees to double down — but at what cost?

Don't forget employee stress is one of the most common reasons people give for leaving their roles. Nobody wants to be somewhere that runs them into the ground.

However, using an all-in-one employee experience solution, such as Perkbox, helps you manage employee experience. With Perkbox, your teams get access to a range of tools that support their physical and mental wellbeing.

Moreover, with polls, you can instantly gauge how your employees feel. Understanding this data is a pivotal factor in the next steps you take. For example, do you hire more people to pick up the extra workload or offload some of it to an agency?

Whatever action you take, Perkbox helps you take care of your teams so your business can run in its most optimal state. After all, happy employees are also productive employees, and productive employees drive businesses forward.


Want to build a more resilient workforce? Perkbox can help

Boost productivity and motivation with our reward and recognition guide

We've put together this guide to give you the tools you need to plan, create and review your very own reward and recognition strategy.

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