Does work haunt your dreams? Always-on culture leaves majority of Brits dreaming about their job

  • The majority (55%) of employees have dreams about work
  • Brits are more likely to dream about work and their colleagues (34%) than about relationships, wealth or health
  • A fifth (21%) dream about being in a relationship with their colleague
  • Brits are twice as likely to dream about quitting their job (15%) than a pay rise or promotion
  • 1 in 4 (28%) have a nightmare about work at least once a week
  • A quarter (28%) have nightmares about work while they’re on holiday
  • A third (29%) say they believe they have nightmares because they dwell on the mistakes they’ve made at work

TUESDAY 20TH FEBRUARY 2018 – LONDON, UK – The UK has become so gripped with the ‘always-on’ culture it has shattered workers’ sleep patterns and caused employees to have nightmares about all elements of their workplace. New research has today revealed that work has now broken the final frontier, invading the sleep that is one of the last safe havens from job stresses.

In a competitive market with everyone battling for promotions and pay rises, its becoming ever more difficult for employees to switch off from the rat race. Indeed, so much so that the majority (55%) of Brits now have dreams about work.

A third (30%) of employees believe this is because they’re worried about their current salary and don’t feel like they’re progressing as fast as they should be. A fifth (18%) say they think this is because they obsess about things that will go wrong in their absence. It’s clear that, without even a break in their sleep, Brits have lost one of few remaining respites from the daily grind.

The ‘Dream Job’

The research revealed the extent the ‘always-on’ culture is invading the subconscious, causing employees to dream about work with alarming regularity.

More than a quarter (28%) of employees dream about work at least once a week and almost two-thirds (63%) do so at least once a month. The research shows just how difficult it has become for employees to unshackle themselves from the ‘always-on’ culture, with over a third (37%) of Brits even dreaming about work while they’re on holiday.

The struggles of employees maintaining a healthy work-life balance are well documented. However, Brits are as likely to dream about work and their colleagues (34%) as they are about their family (35%), and even more so than relationships (31%) and money (18%).

Indeed, professional and personal lives have become blurred so much that a fifth (21%) of employees dream about being in a relationship with their colleague. This is more often than meeting their favourite celebrity (18%) and just short of winning the lottery (28%).

  1. Winning the lottery -28%
  2. Being in a relationship with a colleague – 21%
  3. Meeting my favourite celebrity – 18%
  4. Quitting my job – 15%
  5. Telling my colleagues what I really think about them – 13%

The inability to switch off from the pressures from work can leave employees understandably dissatisfied, searching for a break. Brits are twice as likely to dream about quitting their job (15%) than they are about a pay rise (9%) or being promoted (9%).

A Nightmare to Work With

As work continues to invade employees’ thoughts while they’re unconscious, it’s even more harrowing and invasive when it’s a negative experience in the form of a nightmare.

Totaljobs has discovered 40% of Brits have nightmares about work, with more than a quarter (28%) of employees having one at least once a week. It is perhaps unsurprising, then, that employees are more likely to have nightmares about work and colleagues (26%) than family (19%), relationships (17%), money issues (15%) or health problems (13%).

While the most common nightmares continue to be the predictable falling (35%), being lost (28%) and teeth falling out (21%), it’s telling that work is more prevalent than some of the other expected nightmares.

Brits are more likely to have nightmares about being late for work (13%) and being sacked (10%) than are about being trapped (8%). Indeed, employees are as likely to have nightmares about an upcoming project or showing up to work naked -1 in 25 (4%) people have dreamt their boss was killing them!

  • Being late for work – 13%
  • Being sacked – 10%
  • An upcoming project – 8%
  • Showing up to work naked – 8%
  • Interview scenarios – 7%
  • Being killed by my boss – 4%

As employees are already facing pressures to be successful, work can feel like an unforgiving place when Brits can’t even find peace in their sleep. A quarter (28%) of people even have nightmares about work while they’re on holiday – not a great way to spend those precious annual leave days!

The research has discovered that self-doubt and insecurity is at the root of work nightmares. A third (29%) of Brits say they have nightmares because they dwell on mistakes they’ve made at work and a fifth (19%) blame a lack of job security. 13% don’t think they’re up to the job and worry they’ll be found out.

Psychologist and Dreams Expert, Dr Ian Wallace, said: “Dreams and nightmares are how we naturally attempt to resolve the accumulated emotional tension from all the information we unconsciously absorb everyday. Most of this tension is generated from encountering conflicts and challenges at work, particularly with colleagues, and so it’s natural that our jobs count for a lot of our dream activity.

However, the work environments and colleagues we create in our dreams are not those actual places and people, but rather symbols of personal realisation and development. For example, dreaming about getting a pay rise or being promoted are subtle ways of recognising untapped talent that is waiting to be brought to the surface. Even a nightmare about being sacked indicates a chance to step out of your comfort zone and make your own career choices. Ironically, this actually demonstrates leadership skills and often results in promotion.”

David Clift, HR Director at totaljobs, said: “This study really highlights the scale in which work is invading our sleep and how it is predominantly due to work concerns and stresses that are taken home from the office.

It’s of course natural that our jobs count for a lot of our dream activity, especially when facing challenges and conflicts in the workplace. But we hope that from conducting this study, employers begin to understand how important it is to offer actionable advice to their employees.”

ENDS

About totaljobs:

Totaljobs is one of UK’s leading job boards, attracting 12 million visits and 3 million applications from qualified jobseekers every month. 130,000 new candidates register with us each month who have an average of 170,000 jobs a month to choose from, posted by thousands of employers including Amazon, Sky, Virgin Media, DHL amongst many others.

We were formed in 1999 and we are part of Totaljobs Group Ltd, the largest and fastest growing UK job board company in the UK. Our head office is in London, and we also have offices in Birmingham, Cardiff, Leeds, Manchester, Nottingham and Glasgow.

In turn, Totaljobs Group Ltd is a significant division of StepStone Group, one of the largest job board companies in the world and a subsidiary of Axel Springer Digital Classifieds.

Visit the totaljobs website: www.totaljobs.com