Nearly a quarter of French workers are in a state of "hyperstress" and over half suffer from a high level of anxiety that could be putting their health at risk, a new study has revealed.
And the main cause of this high level of stress is work itself.
The study, conducted by Stimulus -- a company that looks into health and well-being in the workplace -- surveyed 32,137 employees working across 39 companies over a period of four years between 2013 and 2017.
In addition, it was revealed that 52 percent of French employees were experiencing high levels of anxiety, with 16 percent considered to "probably have an anxiety disorder".
However on a more positive note, more than half of French employees (51 percent) do not experience stress at work at all.
Both "having to deal with a lot of complex information" and a lack of time were two of the major causes of stress, said Stimulus.
And a lack of autonomy, uncertainty about the future of their jobs, feeling useless and being obliged to adapt constantly were also key reasons why workers in France are so stressed.
Other factors included having to be in contact with rude people or having people at work who enjoy making others suffer also contributed to levels of "hyperstress".
While these only affected 15-20 percent of employees, they are considered major sources of stress, according to the authors of the study.
The study also showed that women (28 percent) appear to more stressed than men (20 percent).
The amount of stress an employee felt also related to their seniority within the company, with those higher up likely to experience more stress than junior staff.
Finally, sectors such as health, services and financial activities as well as insurance are more affected.
But it wasn't bad news for all industries, with the study showing that transport employees are spared the high levels of stress seen in other lines of work.
Meanwhile 29 percent have a high depressive level (show symptoms of depression) and six percent "probably have depression", according to the study.
The study from Technologia
, a French firm that looks at ways to reduce risks to workers, found that farmers, at 23.5 percent, were most prone to excessive work, followed closely at 19.6 percent by business owners and managers.
The all-consuming nature of people’s jobs has left them feeling exhausted, emotionally empty and sometimes physically in pain, Technologia found.
“France’s appearance from the outside can be a bit simplified,” Technologia's head Jean-Claude Delgenes told The Local at the time. “There is a lot of overtime. Most workers don’t adhere strictly to the 35-hour work week.”
Instead, they are staying late, doing more and working remotely because the economic crisis has them in fear of losing their jobs, he says. France is battling a 16-year high unemployment rate that is hovering above 10.5 percent. At the same time email and smart phones allow people to work any time, any place.
“We have poor self-control when it comes to new technology,” Delgenes said. “Work spills over into people’s private lives. The difference between work and social life used to be clearly distinct."
What is "hyperstress"?
Hyperstress is defined as the psychological strain people often feel when they perceive themselves as being overwhelmed by work.
When a person feels pushed beyond the limits of what they can handle, whether it's caused by an excessively high workload, unreasonable deadlines or working too long and too hard.
This can lead to a short temper, as well as induced or increased anxiety and/or depression, which can lead to problems in a person's personal life.