Salespeople are the most likely to comfort eat when stressed, new research shows

More than half of sales workers admit that stress causes them to comfort eat, according to a study of 3,000 UK workers carried out by Perkbox, as part of the 2018 UK Workplace Stress Report.

While comfort eating is one of the most common stress coping mechanisms within sales, a further 18% admitted they also turn to potentially harmful stimulants – such as coffee, nicotine and alcohol – to cope with stress in the workplace.

The report also found that those in the sales industry are the most likely to admit they feel stressed several times per day (31%).

Despite this, only a small number, 13% said that their place of work has introduced subsidised or free gym membership to reduce stress and mental well-being in the workplace.

Chieu Cao, CMO and co-founder at Perkbox, said:

It’s fascinating to see how those in the sales industry cope with stress. Clearly, comfort eating is a hugely popular stress coping mechanism for these workers. But this is not a healthy method of stress relief, and can lead to overeating and, as a result, obesity.

Relying on stimulants such as alcohol, caffeine and nicotine – all of which, ironically, actually contribute to stress, tension and anxiety – is also a common but unhealthy method of stress relief. And it is especially interesting to see how much more of an issue this is amongst those within the industry.”

Cao continues:

Overeating or turning to alcohol, caffeine or nicotine can have negative effects on our health. Bosses within the sales industry should to be careful to limit junk food and alcohol-related perks as incentives for staff.

There are numerous benefits that businesses can offer which promote physical and mental health, yet are still strongly desired by staff. For example, exercise through the form of; office sports teams, free or discounted gym membership, free yoga classes and mindfulness are all ‘perks’ that play into healthy coping mechanisms for stress, yet are relatively inexpensive for businesses to set up.”