British workers suffering from identity crisis

25-07-2006

British employees are suffering from stress through being forced to change themselves to fit in with their workplace environment, a new study claims.

The study by Vodafone, part of the company's Working Nation series of reports, found that 58 per cent of employees change their personality and identity to fit in at work, causing 'identity stress' in some cases.

Around 20 per cent of British workers have changed their appearance significantly for their job, 14 per cent have modified their accent, six per cent have concealed their religious identity and one in 50 has hidden their sexual orientation.

A hardcore six per cent of 'identity stressed' workers have felt compelled to change their identity completely, making them three times more likely to work for companies that oppose their values, and twice as likely to be dissatisfied at work, or to lie to get ahead.

At a time when employers are focussing more on work/life balance for their employees, identity stress seems to be dragging things back, having a damaging impact on both working and social lives, the report claims.

"We are acutely aware that getting the right balance between work and home life is not just about how much time people spend in or out the office," said Mark Bond of Vodafone UK.

"It's also about who you are when you come to work."

Around 67 per cent of senior employers said that they expected some level of "identity change" from their workforce, despite 88 per cent saying that they thought the retention of "real identity" had never been more important.



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