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Are You at a Breaking Point at Work?

Are You at a Breaking Point at Work?

In a world in which there appears to be a never-ending, 24/7 connection to work via the Internet, it’s no surprise that job-related stress is on the rise. In the United Kingdom, a recent survey revealed high levels of dissatisfaction—and the consequences. And our British friends are far from alone.

According to the website, a “new survey of 2,000 working British adults finds that the modern employee is more stressed than ever, and a significant portion of workers feel like they just can’t take it anymore. The survey, commissioned by accountant support charity CABA, reveals that the average working adult feels stressed out for nearly a third of each and every working day, and four in ten adults feel they are very close to reaching their ‘breaking point.’ Additionally, the average employee will lose five hours of sleep every week due to the pressures of their job.”

As a result, “three in 10 adults say they have been pushed to the brink of tears by their workplace stress, and another one in five have turned to alcohol for relief. Additionally, 31 [percent] have called in sick to avoid stressful situations at work, and 14 [percent] even used their kids as an excuse to stay home.”

Offices “Covered in Stress Triggers”

The report also noted, “Modern offices are literally covered in potential stress triggers, and respondents listed checking work emails at all hours of the day and night, performing a speech or presentation, and overly demanding superiors as their top workplace stressors.”

In a list of ten factors cited as causes of work stress, “excessive workload” came in at number one, while “long working hours” was ranked seventh.

In North America, Mexico leads in on-the-job stress. “Mexican workers suffer from work-related stress, higher than China, 73 [percent], and the United States, 59 [percent].” According to Mexico News Daily, “Vacation time could be a factor. Mexico’s General Labor Law guarantees workers only six vacation days a year, while other Latin American countries, such as Brazil, Panama, Peru, Cuba, and Nicaragua, guarantee workers a total of 30.”

Not having to fight traffic—or rail and bus crowds—working from home might seem like the perfect antidote, but not necessarily. Remote workers also feel stressed out, British university professor Stephanie Russell noted.

“[T]here are also growing concerns that people’s mental health and well-being can take a hit when working remotely. In the UK, businesses lose £100m every year due to workplace stress, depression and anxiety. Research shows that being ‘always on’ and accessible by technology while working remotely leads to the blurring of work and non-work boundaries, particularly if you work from home. A 2017 United Nations report found that 41 [percent] of remote workers reported high stress levels, compared to just 25 [percent] of office workers.”

While none of these surveys or news reports linked job stress to breaching the Sabbath day, it is still something that should be considered.

Even the Oxen Rest

After all, the Sabbath, established at the creation (Genesis 2:1), is a day in which not only people were to rest, but beasts of burden as well. Exodus 23:12 says, “Six days you shall do your work, and on the seventh day you shall rest, that your ox and your donkey may rest, and the son of your female servant and the stranger may be refreshed.”

Time and again throughout history, attempts to recast the workweek into periods of ten days, or those without a fixed day of rest, have been failures. Entrepreneurs and “solo workers” who ignore the need for rest do so at their own peril: “You need to rest,” true crime writer Caitlin Rother, a victim of overwork, told a reporter in 2014. “You can’t be efficient and get things done if you don’t take time to rest.”

It makes logical sense: If God created people, then He would know how we best operate, and how we can do so at peak efficiency and happiness. The gift of the Sabbath is designed for mortals who would quickly wear themselves out without rest, and even the oxen receive that consideration.

But in a world where go-go-go is the operating philosophy, such care and consideration can be quickly neglected. Add to this the “gig economy,” where driving a ride-sharing car or finding quick $5 “freelance” jobs online is the way many people try to pay the bills, and the temptation to cut corners is severe. “You can sleep when you’re dead” was a popular comeback line in recent years.

Along with physical rest and relief, the Sabbath also offers spiritual blessings found nowhere else. Our free article, “The Blessings of the Sabbath” will give you useful information as you consider how and why Sabbathkeeping does a body—and a soul—a tremendous amount of good!