Top 10 most stressful tasks at work revealed

Top 10 most stressful tasks at work revealed

  • Date: Tuesday 29th June 2021
  • PDF: Download


The results of a survey by Sodexo Exchange have identified which work tasks employees find most stressful. Workplace stress has always been with us and the causes have changed during the pandemic as we have adapted to new ways of working. 38% of employees surveyed admitted to sleepless nights caused by work-related stress.

The number 1 most stressful task at work is dealing with complaints, with nearly 27% of respondents citing this as their most stressful task.

Here is the full list of most stressful tasks:

  1. Dealing with complaints – most stressful for 27%
  2. Multitasking several projects with upcoming deadlines – most stressful for 21%
  3. Back-to-back meetings throughout the day – most stressful for 19%
  4. Performance reviews – most stressful for 17.6%
  5. Talking on the phone to customers – most stressful for 17.4%
  6. Presenting to people – most stressful for 17%
  7. Managing emails – most stressful for 15%
  8. Problem solving / troubleshooting issues – most stressful for 15%
  9. Working with large digital documents – most stressful for 14.3%
  10. 1-1 meetings with line manager – most stressful for 14%


The results vary by sector with over 35% of employees working in retail, leisure, catering, travel and transport all citing dealing with complaints as the primary work stressor whereas only 13% of employees in the arts and culture sector cited it as their main cause of work stress.

The results of the survey show that the most stressful tasks are often part of an employee’s day to day role and therefore hard to avoid.

Learning for employers

To assist employers to successfully complete the most stressful elements of their role, leadership and line managers should consider the following steps:

  • Ensure line managers are on hand to guide and support when a complaint escalates
  • Ensure employees are aware of the escalation process
  • Ensure training is provided to new team members, and complete refresher training to longer standing team members, on customer service and conflict management
  • Consider setting up an employee assistance programme with access to a confidential helpline


Source: Gavin Parrott


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