Stress: Is It Getting to You?
As the economy takes its sweet time about recovering, employees are feeling more stress on the job -- and employers are doing little to help deal with the problem. Those are the major findings of our Nov. 27 Reader Survey. Of the 700-plus readers who responded, 70% said they're feeling more stress on the job than usual, vs. 23% who said they're feeling the same level of stress as always.
Some 31% cited concerns over job security as the primary cause of increased stress, though 18% pinpointed their pace of work, and 12% blamed a confrontational work environment. Not surprisingly, given those responses, 56% think their job is less secure than it was a year ago.
Some 59% of those who participated said stress at work has affected their health, vs. 22% who said it hasn't. Some 27% cited depression as the primary result, while 17% blamed stress for the fact that they've gained weight, and 10% said their blood pressure has risen.
NO CLUE, NO HELP.
Employers seem oblivious to these problems, judging by the perception of those who completed the survey. Some 61% said their employer doesn't understand the extent to which stress affects them on the job, and 67% said their employer offers no advice or training on ways to reduce stress (though 22% said their company does).
Some 25% of those who particpated -- nearly 80% of whom have either an undergraduate or advanced degree -- said they exercise more as a way to cope with stress, though others try a wide range of techniques, including taking days off, stepping away from their workstation at regular intervals, just concentrating on staying relaxed -- or working as hard as possible in hopes of making their job more secure.
Here are the full details of the survey, which as always is unscientific since anyone who wished to could participate:
Would you say that the amount of stress you feel at work these days is:
|About the same as usual||164||22.62 %|
|Less than usual||37||5.10 %|
|More than usual||511||70.48 %|
|Not sure||13||1.79 %|
What's the primary cause of stress you feel at work?
|The type of work||78||10.73 %|
|The pace of the job||127||17.47 %|
|Your boss||65||8.94 %|
|Your co-workers||35||4.81 %|
|Confrontational/competitive work environment||88||12.1 %|
|Teamwork environment||23||3.16 %|
|Concerns about job security||225||30.95 %|
|Personal issues that spill over into work||48||6.60 %|
|Not sure||13||1.79 %|
Would you say that, compared with a year ago, your job is:
|More secure||96||13.26 %|
|Less secure||402||55.52 %|
|As secure||179||24.72 %|
|Not sure||47||6.49 %|
Has the stress you feel at work affected your health in any way?
|Not sure||143||19.78 %|
If workplace stress has affected your health, in what ways has it? (Choose all that apply)
|Weight gain||135||17.13 %|
|Weight loss||30||3.81 %|
|High cholesterol||31||3.93 %|
|High blood pressure||79||10.03 %|
|Chronic minor illnesses||72||9.14 %|
|Marital/relationship strife||77||9.77 %|
|Substance abuse||28||3.55 %|
|Workplace stress hasn't affected my health||59||7.49 %|
Do you think that your employer understands the extent to which stress does -- or doesn't -- affect you on the job?
|Don't know||137||19.11 %|
Whether your company does or doesn't understand, does it offer advice or training in how to reduce stress?
|Don't know||72||9.97 %|
What are the best ways you've found to reduce stress at work? (Choose all that apply)
|Exercise more||279||25.55 %|
|Concentrate on staying relaxed||151||13.83 %|
|Avoid overeating||64||5.86 %|
|Step away from your workstation at regular intervals||154||14.1 %|
|Take days off periodically||169||15.48 %|
|Tune out your boss or co-workers||77||7.05 %|
|Work as hard as possible to do well and make your job more secure||115||10.53 %|
|Join a substance abuse program||3||0.27 %|
|I don't worry about stress at work||24||2.20 %|
Are you a:
Do you work for a:
|Small company (fewer than 100 employees)||188||26.15 %|
|Big company (more than 100 employees)||531||73.85 %|
How much education do you have?
|High school degree||33||4.56 %|
|High school plus some college||109||15.06 %|
|Undergraduate degree||271||37.43 %|
|Graduate degree||311||42.96 %|