The prevalence of stress in the American workplace is so high that most workers have accepted it as a way of life. Odds are, so have you. But is something wrong when stress, instead of being an occasional state, becomes the norm? Wellness experts have been referring to American stress levels as an epidemic for years, and with good reason.
According to the American Psychological Association (APA), 71% of US millennials report being stressed out by work. Of Generation Z, the youngest segment of our workforce, 69% are already experiencing workplace stress, making it their second-highest source of stress only after health-related concerns.
We’ve aggregated the latest workplace stress statistics to get the word out about this very important topic. What we didn't expect to find was that:
1. Stress is not an issue we face alone, and;
2. Stress can lead to burnout, but it is also a road to excellence, depending on how you manage it.
In addition to many more interesting findings we discuss throughout this article, these are the statistics that shocked us the most:
The key 2023 workplace stress statistics everyone should know about
- Workplace stress has a $300 billion annual price tag in the US alone.
- 56% of US workers in a corporate or government position feel at least somewhat burned out - a symptom of chronic stress.
- This includes 27% of workers who responded that they feel a high or very high degree of burnout, which is a threat to their long-term mental health.
- Burnout is negatively affecting employee retention in significant ways. 43% of Millennials and 44% of Gen Z workers have recently left a job as a direct result of burnout.
- Despite this, a fifth of workers in these groups reported that their employer was not doing enough to prevent employee burnout because they do not take it seriously.
- Around 57% of American and Canadian workers report feeling stressed at work every day.
- 75% of employers agree that supporting remote work improves employee retention.
- This makes sense because 63% of women and 52% of men believe remote work is less stressful.
- Remote workers are however not exempt from chronic stress. 30% of men and 21% of women who work remotely admit that they cram the productivity of six full working days into a 5-day work week.
- Workplace stress is caused by a number of factors, but according to 69% of stressed American workers, the main aggressor is receiving assignments with unrealistic deadlines.
- Despite outcries from employees who prefer remote and hybrid working arrangements, major employers are mandating they return to the office in 2023.
Is Workplace Stress an Epidemic Or a Global Pandemic?
The U.S. labor market and employees are not alone in the stress landscape. In fact, we’re not even the worst off.
Gallup’s Global 2022 Workplace Report cites that 44% of people surveyed across the world experience significant workplace stress on a daily basis. A slight increase from 43% in 2021.
North America, as a whole, comes in above this median, but still at second place with 50% of respondents admitting they feel the effects of stress. Same as Latin America and the Caribbean.
For East Asia, which tops the chart, this figure is 55%.
Australia, New Zealand, the Middle East, and North Africa also beat the average.
- As a region, 47% of Australia and New Zealand experience workplace stress
- North Africa and the Middle East come in just above the median at 45%
In the previous (2021) Gallup Report, by comparison, the US and Canada is the most stressed region with 57% of respondents admitting to workplace stress.
The decline in American workplace stress may be attributed to how much more acutely the Covid-19 pandemic affected workers in 2021. It can also be due to progression in the workplace, like the recent increase in remote work, or increased efforts from employers to assist their staff in stress management.
Let’s take a closer look at stress to see.
What Is Stress Doing to Workers?
In Deloitte’s Global 2022 Gen Z and Millennial Survey half of the respondents were looking for a new job and 25% reported that they have quit a job due to the stress it caused. And who can blame them?
- 54% report stress from work has negatively affected their home life on a weekly or daily basis.
- 35% said they’ve lost their temper at work
- 39% had to take unplanned time off.
- More than half reported that stress negatively affects their ability to sleep.
From an employer’s perspective, an especially alarming stress statistic is this: 46% of workers admitted that, due to stress, they’ve stopped caring or “checked out” at times. In addition, 25% of respondents experienced a decline in their work quality due to stress.
We know stress is bad for our health, our mental wellbeing, and our work. So why are we still so stressed? What is it about our workplace culture that makes it so stressful? And, realistically speaking, should we be aiming for absolutely zero work-related stress?
Is work-related Stress Always Bad?
One of the paradoxes of stress is that it’s not an absolute evil.
Medical science has proven that stress is bad for our physical and mental health. But Kelly McGonigal’s famous 2013 TED talk argues that believing stress is bad for you is actually more dangerous than actually being stressed.
According to the study she cites, people who experienced a lot of stress in the prior year had a 43% increased risk of dying. However, that metric was only true for the people who also believed that stress is harmful to your health.
Working with set goals, deadlines and expectations will inevitably lead to workers feeling some pressure to deliver results. And shouldn’t it?
Companies employ workers with the expectation that they will add value to the organization. The employee should, therefore, ideally feel some responsibility (read: stress) to perform. Research also proves that employees who are experiencing too little stress are underutilized and unmotivated. Even bored.
Stress is a survival mechanism that allows your body to enter a high-performing state. A healthy level of stress can be the cognitive state where career growth happens and grandiose goals are achieved.
Wrike’s 2018 Stress in the Workplace Survey found that 33% of US respondents agreed with the statement “A little bit of stress can help me focus and get work done”. So there is an attainable Goldilocks zone where our stress levels are “just right” to achieve high performance. This desirable level of stress even has a name - Eustress.
We’ve established that zero stress is not the desired state, but neither is a toxic level of stress - or distress.
So let’s be clear. When we refer to workplace stress in this article, we’re talking about a high level of stress. This is medically referred to as chronic stress.
What Is Chronic Workplace Stress?
In a nutshell, stress is your body’s reaction to a perceived threat, problem, demand, or stimulus that requires you to take action. We often refer to this as the body’s fight or flight response. Chronic (toxic) stress happens when your brain and body’s stress response is activated too often or for too long at a time.
Stress is supposed to happen in short bursts. Here’s why:
When you’re in difficult or demanding circumstances, like chasing a deadline, your body generates a stress response. On a physiological level, it releases stress hormones including adrenaline and cortisol to deal with these circumstances. Once the stressful event is over the hormones dissipate and the body returns to normal levels of operation.
Toxic stress usually develops when your body experiences multiple stress factors that are persistent and severe. For example, if your work consists of one deadline after the other interspersed with confrontational colleagues, demanding clients, and an irritable boss, stress would be your default state. The heightened cortisol and adrenaline levels caused by ongoing stress never dissipate and create an ongoing inflammatory response in the body. This in turn increases your risk of chronic illness, infections, heart disease, mental illness, and addictive disorders.
When stress is your default state, it becomes dangerous to your mental and physical wellbeing.
What Causes Chronic Workplace Stress?
- Environments where stressors like deadlines, conflict, and crisis management are everyday events.
- When the factors causing stress have no discernible end within the employee’s control.
- When addressing or resolving the cause of stress will not amount to any great result or rewarding achievement down the line.
- An environment where employees are harassed, belittled, or shamed when they need a break or feel overwhelmed.
What Does Chronic Workplace Stress Look Like?
Unfortunately, stress has become such an accepted part of our working life that we often don’t notice when it becomes chronic.
Chronic stress manifests in dangerous physical, cognitive, and behavioral symptoms such as:
- Chest pain and rapid heartbeat
- Frequent colds and infections
- Forgetfulness and disorganization
- Inability to focus
- Poor judgment
- Being pessimistic or seeing only the negative side
- Procrastinating and avoiding responsibilities
- Becoming easily agitated, frustrated, and moody
- Feeling overwhelmed
These are just some of the signs of stress, and a person suffering from chronic stress may not manifest all or any of these symptoms in a discernible way.
In a 2022 survey on general stress felt by Americans, 49% of respondents who reported that they felt high levels of stress also said their behavior has been negatively affected by it.
Behavioral Symptoms of Chronic Stress By Percentage
- The most common effect, reported by 21%, was increased tension in their bodies.
- 20% admitted to “snapping” or getting angry very quickly.
- 20% reported unexpected mood swings.
- 17% felt frustrated to the point of screaming or yelling.
- 57% of respondents claimed to feel paralyzed by stress.
The irony is that chronic stress, which we’ve established is often caused by work, in turn, affects our professional output. So ultimately, workers and companies are both picking up the tab for our highly stressful lifestyle and its ultimate manifestation - burnout.
Statistics That Show How Workplace Stress Affects Productivity
A study conducted by the APA back in 2017 (i.e. pre-pandemic) found that work-related stress was already costing companies $187 billion per year. With the ongoing threat of Covid-19 and the economic fallout of recent political unrest, this figure is on the rise.
The majority of this price tag (70%-90%) was due to lost productivity caused by stress-related absenteeism. By their estimation, 1 million Americans miss work each day due to symptoms of workplace stress.
In 2021 Gallup reported that, besides physical absences, 80% of employees in the world are not engaged or are actively disengaged at work. The productivity lost due to “checked out” workers costs the global economy US$8.1 trillion each year. That’s nearly 10% of GDP.
In the US alone, the annual cost of disengaged employees runs at around $450-550 billion.
And, as we’ve established, this feeling of disengagement is often a direct result of workplace stress.
Furthermore, depression, a condition incited or exacerbated by work stress, is costing the US. economy over $210 billion per year. Once again the cost is tallied by absenteeism and disengagement. But these are not the only symptoms.
More Ways In Which Workplace Stress Affects Productivity
- A worker under chronic stress may second guess their decisions, despite being well equipped to make them.
- Fatigue caused by stress can make an otherwise thorough worker make or overlook mistakes, which take additional time to correct.
- Feelings of cynicism can lead to negative and unproductive behaviors, like office gossiping and squabbling.
- Stress can lead to employees feeling resentment towards their employer, managers, or colleagues, which harshly dampens their ability to collaborate.
Burnout and Depression Caused by Workplace Stress
Arguably the most detrimental effect stress can have on employees is burnout. A state of stress so prevalent in today’s culture, the World Health Organization (WHO) recently included it in the 11th Revision of the International Classification of Diseases as an occupational (workplace) phenomenon. It is not classified as a medical condition.
Burnout is a condition of exhaustion, listlessness, and inability to cope. It was first described by Dr. Herbert Freudenberger in the 1970s as the consequence of severe stress.
Until the WHO recognized burnout, conflicting definitions made it difficult to diagnose. Now it is described as: “A syndrome conceptualized as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed.”
According to the WHO, burnout is characterized by three dimensions:
- Feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion.
- Increased mental distance from one’s job, or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one's job.
- Reduced professional efficacy.
The difference between stress and burnout is this:
In a state of stress, you feel you have too much: Too much work, too many responsibilities, and too many deadlines. With burnout, the feeling you have is a lack of: Lack of motivation, lack of care for your work, and a lack of creativity.
Because it has similar manifestations, burnout is often misinterpreted and treated as depression. Although they are not the same thing, burnout can certainly lead to anxiety and depression.
What Does Burnout Look Like?
Burnout develops when you’ve been under chronic stress for so long that you’ve reached your limit and can no longer function normally.
As with stress, the effects of burnout are worse when it is ongoing. According to Ingris Health, untreated burnout can lead to anxiety or depression. It also causes chronic mental and physical fatigue that prevents you from working for long periods.
Because of its extreme effect on health, burnout is a real threat to the career growth and financial stability of employees. It is also a major concern for employers.
Statistics on How Burnout Leads to Employee Turnover
A 2022 survey by Deloitte states that Gen Zs and millennials who changed organizations in the last two years cited burnout as one of the top three reasons for leaving their previous employer.
- 45% of millennial workers surveyed feel burned out due to the intensity of their workload.
- 46% of Gen Z workers agreed.
- 44% of Gen Z workers and 43% of millennials said they had recently left an organization due to burnout.
- 35% of Gen Z workers said they would leave their current job even without another job lined up.
Covid 19 Workplace Stress and Burnout Statistics
Burnout statistics saw a drastic flare-up as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. A survey conducted by Mental Health America (MHA) during the height of the pandemic found that:
- 75% of people have experienced burnout at work.
- 40% of workers reported that they’ve experienced burnout specifically during the pandemic
- 37% of the employed respondents said that, at the time, they were working longer hours than before the pandemic started.
What Are The Factors That Cause Workplace Stress?
The statistics above make a very clear case as to why employers want to prevent their workers from experiencing chronic stress or burnout. To understand what companies can do to relieve stress, we must first understand what exactly causes an employee to feel unhealthy levels of stress.
Statistics On What Causes Workplace Stress and Employee Burnout
Research has found that 80% of workers say a change in leadership affects their stress levels. More specifically, 31% of surveyed US workers reported that vagueness regarding expectations from supervisors is the most stressful element when these leadership changes happen.
- Unsurprisingly, workload is the main cause of stress for 39% of workers who feel they just can’t manage it within office hours.
- 19% say their top cause of stress is maintaining a work-life balance.
- This is fully understandable when you take into account that a third of workers feel their boss wants them to prioritize work over family life, and be available 24/7.
- 31% claimed interpersonal relationships at work as their main course of stress.
- In fact, 58% of employees have left a job or would consider leaving because of negative office politics.
- 80% of workers in the US said poor communication within the company stresses them out.
Other factors that contribute to workplace stress are job security, which 6% of workers marked as their top concern, low salaries, lack of opportunity for growth, unrealistic job expectations, and long hours.
These are just a few causes of workplace stress. In the US and abroad, employees are also tormented daily by:
- Negative feedback
- Too much change in company processes or policies
- Poor management and toxic leadership
- Organizational culture (if they do not feel they agree or fit in)
- A loud, unpleasant, inadequate, uncomfortable or toxic work environment
- Lack of autonomy
- Monotonous work
- Unreasonable expectations and deadlines
- Micromanagement and over-supervision
There are many steps companies can take to minimize and manage stress felt by their employees. An effective way employers can help, according to workers, is by letting them decide where and when they work.
Is Remote Work The Answer to Workplace Stress?
The rapid increase in remote work due to the pandemic has taught us a lot. A 2021 report by Owl Labs states that:
- 74% of employees surveyed said that working from home is better for their overall mental health.
- 70% of home-based employees said they found virtual meetings less stressful than in-person meetings.
- 79% of respondents said working from home causes them less stress than going to the office.
Statistics On How a Remote Work Policy Affects Performance
A common hesitation with employers is that remote work will negatively affect performance. 36% of managers who lead teams with remote workers are concerned about employee productivity and reduced focus. But the statistics disagree.
- 83% of remote workers say they are at the same productivity level working from home compared to the office, if not higher.
- 58% of people agreed that the ability to work at times that suit them is an important decision-making factor in where they work.
- The ability to work from wherever they want is important to 79%.
- A mere 1% of responders feel much less productive working remotely than at an office.
These performance management statistics all seem to say the same thing about remote work - it's less stressful. But is remote work a surefire way of beating workplace stress?
Of Owl Lab’s respondents, 55% of remote workers say they work more hours at home than they did at their office - likely as a form of presenteeism. 30% of men and 21% of women said they are putting in two or more hours of overtime daily at their remote job.
Effectively then, these workers are adding 10 hours, over a day’s work, to every week. Another study found that, while remote workers save an average of 1-2 hours per day on commuting time, 40% of that extra time is spent doing extra work.
Dishearteningly, only 11% of managers who lead remote teams are concerned about burnout. This is, to a certain extent, expected.
Managers can’t necessarily see remote workers putting in these additional hours or the signs that their team is under stress. It is easy to perceive their weekly output as “the expected norm”. This creates an unhealthy pressure on remote workers to maintain a level of productivity they cannot attain without working extra hours - a situation that can easily lead to chronic stress and burnout.
Remote employees working for companies that also offer in-office work have an additional source of stress. Of respondents in this position, 37% are stressed about feeling like an outsider - not seen or heard by their co-workers.
Most likely, the speed at which companies had to adapt to remote work made the transition more stressful than a gradual shift would have been. 44.4% of remote workers have experienced mental health deterioration since the Covid-19 outbreak.
Workplace Stress of Remote Vs In-Office Jobs
Remote work has an undeniable benefit in:
- Removing or reducing the stress and cost of commuting to the workplace.
- Removing or reducing contact with overbearing managers.
- Allowing employees to adapt their working hours around the needs of their home life.
Although remote work aids with these and other significant stressors, it opens an entirely new can of worms.
Remote workers have cited that being at home all the time makes them feel like they’re also constantly at work. In addition, the added autonomy, lack of office camaraderie, and no escape from home issues put more pressure on them.
Statistics on Workplace Stress Experienced by Remote Workers
- According to the International Labor Office (ILO), 41% of remote workers who station themselves outside their home feel stressed most of the time, whereas about 22% reported they are “always stressed.”
- By comparison, the same study found that only about 25% of office workers feel stressed most of the time, and between 8-9% are always stressed.
- Of remote workers based in their homes, about 31% feel stressed most of the time, and 13% are always stressed.
- For employees who occasionally work from a remote location, the stress rates are about 33% and 11% respectively.
Addressing Sick Leave For Remote Workers to Prevent Stress
A factor of remote work that companies rarely address is sick leave. One can argue that taking sick leave from an office job is partly for recovery and partly a community consideration - to not bring contagions into the workplace.
If a remote worker has the flu, there is no risk of infecting coworkers. This begs the question, how sick do these workers have to be before taking sick leave is validated? With a lack of clear company policy on sick leave, studies show that remote employees opt for working from their sickbed, which increases their stress levels.
Working despite mild illness (sickness presenteeism) has been linked to diminished performance and depression. Despite this, workers feel immense guilt over taking the time they need to recover from health problems. According to Greg Couser, an occupational medicine physician at the Mayo Clinic, this culture of sickbed work is dangerous.
“...People aren't going to get better, they're going to get sicker, they’re going to get more stressed out and there’s going to be all sorts of consequences that we don’t even know about…although there may be a short-term gain in productivity, it could lead to a longer-term loss.”
Experts warn companies against a culture where sickness presenteeism for remote workers is encouraged. In the longer term, everyone benefits from prioritizing recovery.
Addressing Workplace Stress
Chronic workplace stress is expensive, counterproductive, and undeniably harmful. Several employers have caught on to this and are taking steps to reduce workplace stress.
Naturally, their efforts are partly philanthropic and partly capitalistic. The ROI on employee wellness has been proven to be $1.50 for every dollar spent, not counting increased productivity.
In Deloitte’s survey of millennial and Gen Z workers, more than half admitted that workplace wellbeing and mental health have become more of a focus for their employers since the start of the pandemic. But 25% of the respondents do not believe that companies take stress or burnout seriously, or do enough to address it.
10 Ways Employers Can Reduce Workplace Stress
Reducing workplace stress to a desirable level greatly depends on the main stressors and challenges your company must face. However, we have put together this list of 10 steps any organization can take to avoid unnecessary workplace stress.
1. De-stigmatizing work-related stress
Openly recognize stress as a problem and acknowledge that, when employees feel overly stressed, they should take time off. By treating stress as a serious matter employees will feel their workplace is a psychologically safe environment, not one that is actively breaking down their mental health.
2. A safe working environment
Diligent health and safety protocols and protective gear (where appropriate) minimize the possibility of a workplace accident or other physical harm occurring to your workforce. Your team does not need the fear of getting hurt, trapped, or sick from simply doing their job hanging over them.
3. Proper training and supervision
According to the World Health Organization, asking workers to perform tasks that exceed their knowledge, abilities, and skillset is a stress hazard.
Employers often invoke the philosophy of “throw them in the deep end and they’ll learn how to swim''. This approach is nerve-wracking, especially for the employees starting their careers. Investing in employee training and workplace guidance assures the person that they are equipped to do their assigned job.
4. Team feedback
Regularly discuss issues and grievances that cause stress with employees, and then take steps to resolve them. Be aware and acknowledge how much pressure your employees are under.
Even if they are not coming forward about their stress, the markers for chronic stress may be clear in their behavior.
5. Create a stress management policy
Get input from your employees and have an SOP for dealing with stressful situations.
Asking for help is often frowned upon, and creates a situation where the colleague who is asked to help out can simply say no. As a result, a stressed worker may avoid speaking up and just take on more work. Create a culture where, if an employee is working long hours or under pressure, they can follow set procedures for redistributing their workload.
6. Encourage autonomy
Allow employees to have a say in their duties, working environment, and career plan. Situations that are beyond our control are often more stressful than what we choose for ourselves.
7. Alleviate workload
Regularly audit processes to eliminate redundancy and unnecessarily heavy workloads. Keeping workflows streamlined not only reduces employee stress, but it also increases productivity without adding hours. If the process is streamlined, but your employees are still working overtime, hire more staff.
8. Be reasonable about personal lives
Recognize that the demands of your employee’s homes will sometimes clash with the demands of their work and that, in these instances, their personal relationships should be their priority.
Also, remember that fun work is still work. Companies often mistake social events with colleagues for stress relievers. Although there is great team-building value in office parties and table tennis tournaments, these things still take your employees away from their families, their personal lives, and the time they need to de-stress. Arrange work fun during office hours, or make attendance optional.
9. Improve communication
According to Wrike’s report, 41% of workers at large companies (with 1000 employees or more), and 40% of employees at small businesses called a lack of communication a high source of stress.
The report goes on to say, “Since collaboration takes place across several platforms, such as email, instant messaging, meetings, and conference calls, there’s no place to consolidate feedback and ideas. Forgotten deadlines and lack of accountability lead to a spike in workplace stress.”
Consolidating communication to one or fewer platforms can help to close collaboration gaps and reduce these stressors.
10. Build health into the workplace
Companies may consider health as something employees address in their personal capacity. But the physical and mental health of your workforce is a managerial concern.
By extension, companies should invest in making working hours healthy hours by incorporating wellbeing into the company culture. For example, by having:
- Paid sick leave with a clear policy on prioritizing recovery over work
- Free access to healthy snacks
- Daily in-office water drinking goals
- Walking meetings
- Friday half-days once a month to spend time with loved ones
- Healthcare benefits
- Ergonomic office furniture
Reducing Workplace Stress Requires a Toolkit, Not a Quick Fix
Besides what we’ve listed here, there are plenty more ways to manage and reduce job stress within your workplace.
The bad news is that no one-off solution exists. For example, while the productivity and cost benefits of employee health programs are clear, their effectiveness at specifically reducing workplace stress in isolation is not easily proven. After all, an employee wellness program in itself cannot counter stress caused by an unreasonable workload or toxic leadership. In these cases, the added expectation of participating in workplace wellness activities on top of an already stressful job can aggravate an employee’s feelings of stress.
While there is no magic cure for workplace stress, there are many tools that you can enforce in your goal of creating a healthy, optimized workforce. Your ideal toolkit would depend on your company’s unique stressors and structure. However, based on our research, we recommend starting with these four elements:
An Employee Recognition Platform
The need for affirmation is a quality shared by all humans, and positive feedback has proven to increase self-efficiency and performance.
A study by SHRM and Globoforce established that introducing employee recognition programs is effective at creating a positive company culture and boosting happiness. Happiness, in turn, reduces stress.
There are many solutions related to recognition on the market, but lucky for you we’ve already identified the top employee rewards programs to consider for your company.
Programs To Promote Health
Employee health programs encourage workers to develop and maintain healthy habits while also creating a culture of wellbeing. Corporate wellness efforts have been proven to decrease absenteeism, increase productivity and reduce healthcare costs to the company.
Statistics on The Benefits of Employee Wellness Programs
- A 2018 study on introducing corporate wellness programs established that, compared to 2008, 56% of employees had fewer sick days because of its implementation.
- 88% of employees surveyed said they were more concerned about their health.
- 62% reported being more productive
- Of respondents who did not have access to employee wellness, 73% said they wanted their company to start a wellness program.
Consider these ways to introduce wellness into the workplace.
An Employee Assistance Program
An Employee Assistance Program (EAP) provides support during moments when your workers undergo personal challenges related to mental health. This can be substance abuse, family issues, and many others.
According to SHRM, the majority of companies offer EAPs, which typically give employees immediate phone access to a counselor, a limited number of free sessions with a mental health care professional, and referrals to therapists.
Employers can also choose to offer access to child care and elder care providers and access to legal assistance.
According to the APA, one in five American adults will struggle with mental health issues during their lifetime. Despite this, many individuals view such conditions as personal flaws rather than medical issues. An EPA gives the mental health of employees the same status and importance as their physical health.
Statistics on Employee Assistance Programs Benefit Workers
- According to a study published in the International Journal of Health & Productivity, worker absenteeism dropped by 27% after the test companies introduced an EAP.
- The same study also discovered that the employees' engagement at work grew by 8%.
- Life satisfaction among the employees increased by 22%.
- SHRM reports a $3 to $10 return on investment for every $1 companies spend on an EAP.
This is convincing evidence. If you’re looking for the ideal EAP for your company, consider this list of the best employee assistance programs we’ve reviewed.
Assistance With Financial Wellbeing
Ultimately, employees put up with workplace stress because they need the income their job generates. But they are also crippled by the mounting student debt and other rising expenses of our time. The resulting financial stress often damages an employee’s engagement, productivity, and attendance.
Statistics on How Financial Stress Affects Workers
- 73% of Americans say their financial situation is their prominent source of stress.
- According to PwC’s annual Employee Financial Wellness Survey, 41% of workers who feel financial stress also say that this affects their productivity at work.
- 73% of employees whose productivity is significantly impacted by their financial worries also say that their finances have negatively affected their self-esteem.
Consequently, by investing in the financial wellbeing of your workforce, you relieve a major stressor and create a happier, more productive workforce.
Financial wellness support can take many forms and depends greatly on the income bracket and demographic your employees represent. What these programs have in common is the means to help your workers spend smarter, reduce debt and save more of their earnings.
Take a look at these financial wellness programs we highly recommend.
Who Experiences The Most Workplace Stress?
The data says that, while a high income may alleviate a lot of financial woes, a higher annual salary also correlates with a higher level of workplace stress.
In a 2018 LinkedIn report, 68% of American professionals earning above $200,000 annually also reported being stressed. This is compared to only 38% of workers who earned between $51,000 and $75,000.
Workplace Stress Statistics by Industry
The 2021 LinkedIn’s Workforce Confidence survey reports the arts as the sector with the highest amount of stress. According to senior editor George Anders, “Covid-related restrictions have been most disruptive in industries where indoor, face-to-face contact is the norm. That’s reflected by the fact that in fields such as healthcare, education or recreation and travel, stress levels are highest.”
- 84% of LinkedIn members working in the arts reported experiencing work-related stress.
- For healthcare workers, this figure is 75%
- Recreation and travel are tied with education at 73% of workers reporting stress.
- 72% of retail workers, who also deal with people face-to-face, experience workplace stress.
Looking at data from before the pandemic hit, we really see how Covid affected the stress landscape. According to Statista, hospitality was the industry with the highest burnout rate worldwide.
- About 80.3% of people employed in this sector reported they felt overwhelmed by their workload.
- Manufacturing came in as the second most stressful sector at 77.4%, and healthcare third at 76.8%.
- Art, entertainment, and recreation were at 66%.
International worker stress statistics
While the United States is undeniably stressed out by work, we are not the only ones.
- Workplace stress statistics in the UK show that 76% of employees cite workload as their main cause of stress.
- 25% said senior staff is their main stressor and 16% cited insufficient training.
- According to McKinsey, Australia has the highest percentage of workers experiencing burnout. 33% reported a high or very high degree of burnout.
- The same study found that, globally, 21% of employees are feeling high or very high levels of burnout. The global average of people feeling “somewhat” burnt out is 28%
- Between Gallup’s 2021 and 2022 reports, South Asia and Europe saw a decline in the overall well-being of employees. 11% of workers in South Asia and 47% of workers in Europe say that their overall life quality could be categorized as “thriving.” These numbers are 5% lower for both than they were in 2020.
- The Us and Canada have the highest rate of employee engagement. 33% of workers in this region say they feel engaged during work.
- Globally the percentage of respondents who reported workplace stress (44%) is a record high.
- By comparison, this number stood at 34% a decade ago, and at 38% before the Covid pandemic hit.
The Bottom Line: Companies need to care about workplace stress
It is possible that the prevalence of chronic stress has made employers and employees desensitized to its presence in the workplace. But both parties are suffering if it is not addressed.
According to the American Institute of Stress. Workplace stress is expensive.
American industry now estimates losses of over $300 billion annually as a result of workplace stress and the resulting accidents, absenteeism, employee turnover, loss of productivity, direct medical and insurance costs, as well as workers' compensation awards and FELA judgments.
While companies are paying with diminished profits, employees are paying with their lives. A recent study from Finland reported that a high level of stress shortens life expectancy by 2.8 years. An unreasonable price tag by anyone’s standards.