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The modern workplace comes with modern challenges, including significant stress. While automation and technology have made our lives easier in some areas, The American Institute of Stress reports some troubling statistics. These stress in the workplace stress statistics reveal key insights into what’s worrying workers and how it affects them.
If you feel dangerously close to burnout, you’re not alone. Read on to discover how common workplace stress really is.
How stressed are we?
The COVID-19 pandemic initiated a new era in the American workplace. From overloaded healthcare systems to a sudden pivot to remote work, the last few years have been unprecedented to say the least.
While some changes are for the better, like eliminating commutes for remote workers, employees are still having a tough time.
1. 83% of U.S. workers experience work-related stress
More than 4 in 5 American workers experience some level of work-related stress. While some stress is to be expected at times, this indicates a widespread problem. If you’re experiencing workplace stress on a regular basis, it’s worth considering whether the problem is an industry-wide problem or limited to your own workplace.
2. 25% of workers say their job is the #1 stressor in their life
Modern life has a lot of moving parts. Family, social obligations, finances, education, and whatever’s going on in the news can add considerable stress to anyone’s life. However, a quarter of American workers say that their job is their top source of stress—40 or more hours of stress each week is a lot to contend with.
3. 96% of employers provide mental health resources—but only 1 in 6 feel supported
Workplace stress is rampant. How effective are employers at providing support for workplace stress? 96% of employers provide mental health resources to staff. But the effectiveness of this support doesn’t always translate, with only 1 in 6 employees feeling supported by these resources.
If your workplace doesn’t offer mental health resources, now is the time to talk to your employer. If the resources aren’t helping, your boss may be open to suggestions for improvement. If all else fails, however, it may be time to consider a new workplace.
Causes of workplace stress
Understanding what causes workplace stress is the key to solving the problem. These work stress statistics illuminate major problems across the board.
4. Workload, interpersonal issues, work/life balance, and job security are the top stressors
39% of workers report that their workload is the main cause of stress in their workplace. Interpersonal issues (31%), juggling work and personal life (19%), and job security (6%) are also troubling employees.
When you have more work than you can feasibly accomplish, it’s easy to fall behind or have to stay late—and most of us know what it’s like to deal with frustrating coworkers. That stress and increased workload can bleed into your personal life and disrupt your work/life balance. In fact, 41% of workers feel like they’re overloaded. 6% cite job security as their top source of stress, whether they’re afraid their company will go under or they’re simply unable to keep up with the workload.
5. Half of U.S. workers do not feel engaged at work
Feeling like your work matters can reduce stress. It goes a long way toward remaining motivated and happy at your job. Unfortunately, half of American workers don’t feel engaged at work. If you’re bored and burned out, it’s likely time for a change.
6. 45% of workers believe the pandemic has worsened their burnout
The COVID-19 pandemic was a difficult time for most Americans. Lockdowns and remote work made it impossible for some employees to “get away from the office,” while essential workers were exposed to illness, a poorly-behaved public, and few incentives to make up for it. That’s why nearly half of employees believe the pandemic worsened their burnout.
Troubling effects of workplace stress
Workplace stress can have far-reaching effects. It’s easy to brush off stress: doesn’t everyone experience some form of workplace stress eventually?
However, consistent workplace stress causes financial problems, burnout, and problems in our personal lives. These stress in the workplace stats show the true cost.
7. 27% say their financial situation is negatively impacted by their stress
When you’re stressed, it shows up in unexpected ways. Over a quarter of Americans report that their financial situation has been negatively affected by workplace stress. In fact, an estimated 1 million workers are absent every day due to stress, and 54% of workers miss 1 to 2 days per year.
While many employees have paid time off and medical leave, American workplace policies are notoriously meager compared to those in other Western countries. Missing work can cut into your paycheck. On the other hand, persistent stress can have serious mental, emotional, and physical health consequences.
8. One third of employees feel as though they’ll experience burnout within a year
Just how bad is workplace stress? 33% of employees expect to experience burnout within a year.
Psychological burnout is defined as a “syndrome emerging as a prolonged response to chronic interpersonal stressors on the job. The three key dimensions of this response are an overwhelming exhaustion, feelings of cynicism and detachment from the job, and a sense of ineffectiveness and lack of accomplishment.”
While burnout primarily affects workers in “people-oriented” professions, like healthcare, education, and service jobs, anyone can fall victim to prolonged stress. Burnout may lead to extended leave from work, job loss, and other consequences. Employers who address burnout at its root causes can reduce the turnover rate. They can also increase employee happiness. That ultimately leads to higher productivity.
9. 76% of workers feel that work-related stress affects their personal relationships and mental health
It’s no surprise that three quarters of American workers report work stress is affecting their personal lives. Long work hours, interpersonal conflicts, lack of engagement, and other issues make it tough to enjoy life outside the job.
The more intense the stress, the more likely an employee will suffer mental health issues. This negatively impacts their work and finances. They may feel like they can’t take a break or enjoy time off. As a result, work becomes even more stressful. It’s a tough cycle to break.
The bottom line
The majority of U.S. workers experience workplace stress, and a startling number report that they’re close to burnout. Slowing down and finding the right work/life balance can go a long way toward breaking out of the burnout cycle.
When a quarter of employees cite their job as their top source of stress—in spite of everything else going on in the world—that’s a sign of a major underlying problem. Employees in these situations need to impress upon their employers the importance of addressing the issues that are leading to dissatisfaction and burnout.
Sometimes, the only solution is to change your job. “The Great Resignation” has been disconcerting for workers and employers alike, but it’s unsurprising given these stress in the workplace stats. If you’re experiencing consistent, chronic workplace stress, a change of pace might be just what you need. There’s always room for improvement. Take charge of your mental, physical, and emotional health by seeking a better work/life balance.