Working dads under stress see flexible working as the answer

Study published on the most depressing day of the year adds to the misery by finding we’re all stressed. But more working dads are looking to flexible working as the answer.

man at desk with head in hands plus open laptop and cup of coffee


More men than women want flexible working according to a new study.

A survey into workplace stress found nine out of 10 employees reported ‘excessive stress’. That’s levels of pressure that adversely impact their mental health.

The most common cause of stress is long working hours. Tight deadlines and low pay were also cited as causes of excessive stress.

Mental health

Around a quarter of men – the vast majority working dads – said lack of flexible working affected their mental health. That compares to 16% of women. The discrepancy may be because women have greater access to flexible working already. But it points to a common belief that demand for flexible working is set to become more widespread.

It’s likely to be related that only 12% of men said they’d never felt excessive stress compared to around one in five women.

The Stress in the Workplace study was carried out by payroll and accountancy firm Dolan Contractor Group. The findings were released to coincide with Blue Monday. The third Monday in January is cited by PR firms as the most miserable day of the year. With Christmas debt to deal with and short hours of daylight it’s claimed the January blues kick in today.

The study also found that freelancers and the self employed lack formal support mechanisms for dealing with stress.


Richard Holmes, Director of Wellbeing at Westfield Health, said of the study, “Burnout is a state of emotional, physical and mental exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress. Pressure at work is usually the main culprit. When budgets are tight and teams are small, people often find themselves with multiple roles and heavy workloads, piling on the stress.

“Policies like flexible or remote working can help employees balance work and home life. And things like turning off email servers outside of working hours helps ring fence valuable recovery time. Mental health first aid training can also help managers spot the signs or triggers and put preventions in place.

“Contractors or freelancers who don’t have the support of HR might need to adopt their own strategies such as setting working hours, turning off email alerts out of these hours and separating work and living space if working from home.”


Lauren Monks, Group Operations Director at Dolan Contractor Group, states:“The Stress in the Workplace study deepens our understanding of our contractors, freelancers and the self employed. It outlines the key areas that cause stress and so gives us and employers insight to help reduce stress in the workplace.

“Stress is prevalent in all areas of work and across all industries regardless of the way you work- as a traditional employee or via your own limited company or umbrella employment, though contractors and freelancers are rarely mentioned in the conversation for stress in the workplace and mental wellbeing.”

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