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U.S. Workers Face Growing Pressure to Relax

Whoa! Hold on there, young banker. Your boss wants you to kick back and stop working so hard. That’s the message from Bank of America, which just issued a memo advising its analysts and associates to “take a minimum of four weekend days off per month.” (Senior executives presumably know what’s good for them and are welcome to work around the clock.)

This growing pressure to relax isn’t limited to junior bankers trying to get ahead in a shrinking industry. In fact, a major source of stress on U.S. workers right now is the onslaught of data about the costs of being so stressed and sleep-deprived. You’re more likely to crash your car, drink too much, blow up in a meeting, divorce your spouse, and fall prey to everything from a cold to a heart attack. Just being around a stressed person, so-called secondhand stress, can leave you feeling more stressed. For most Americans the main source of that stress isn’t their finances or love life or lousy neighbors. It’s their job. More specifically, it’s the workload from their job. (The kind of workload that prompts a Bank of America associate to, say, work over the weekend.)