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Uncovering the Root Cause of Workplace Stress

According to the American Institute of Stress, job stress is the primary source of stress for American adults, and it is progressively getting worse over the last several decades.

Long-term, increased stress can lead to all types of health conditions, including hypertension, heart attack, anxiety and sleep disorders. 

Americans are working longer and harder than ever before. A government report found that the number of hours worked increased by eight-percent in one generation by the late 1990s, which means that Americans went from working an average of 40 hours to 47 hours a week. Globally, Americans are different from other countries. While in 1995, workers in Japan worked more than Americans, now Americans put in an extra month more of work than the Japanese and an astounding three months more than those working in Germany. 

The Health Effects of Stress

Occupational stress can cause a variety of physical ailments, including:

  • 30 percent suffer from back pain
  • 28 percent complain of stress
  • 20 percent report feeling tired 
  • 13 percent suffer from headaches

Job Stress is Costly

According to the American Institute of Stress, job stress costs U.S. businesses more than $300 billion annually, which is primarily due to:

  • Absenteeism
  • Accidents
  • Employee turnover
  • Medical, legal and insurance-related costs
  • Poor productivity
  • Workers’ compensation claims

Common Causes of Workplace Stress

There are many reasons that workplace stress exists and occur on the job, such as:

  • Lack of clarity; unclear objectives
  • Insufficient employee support
  • Poor cohesion amongst teams and employees
  • Employees have little control over their work or experience micromanaging
  • Difficult or inflexible work hours
  • Psychological harassment
  • Poor management and lack of communication policies
  • Poor health and safety policies

Human resources departments should work to help companies minimize stressful environments, which can significantly boost employee satisfaction and retention rates.


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