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Survey: 8 in 10 workers are stressed

Published April 19, 2013 8:53 am

Stressors • Low pay and unreasonable workload tied as No. 1 source of stress on the job.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Stressed out on the job? You're not alone.

A recent survey shows 83 percent of American workers are feeling stressed by at least one work-related issue. That's up a full 10 percent compared with last year.

John Swartz, regional director of career services at Everest College, which commissioned the study, said the results surprised him.

"The economy is getting better, unemployment is lower — you'd think people would be feeling better about their situation," Swartz said. "But overall, as workers we're being asked to do more with less. Employees are burning out."

An unreasonable workload and low pay tied for the No. 1 causes of stress at 14 percent each. Long commutes and annoying coworkers also ranked high, with 11 percent each. Other pressure points included working outside of a chosen field, trouble balancing life and work, lack of opportunity for advancement and fear of being fired or pink-slipped.

The results differ somewhat from the 2012 survey, which found 11 percent cited low pay as their top stressor followed by unreasonable work load, commuting and annoying coworkers in a three-way tie at 9 percent.

Thie year, surveyors were struck by the "significant drop" in the number of people who say nothing stresses them out about their employment. In 2012, 26 percent claimed a carefree work experience; this year, only 17 percent made that claim.

Swartz said while employers implemented cost-cutting measures out of necessity during the economic downturn, they need to recognize and address the psychological implications those decisions are now having on their employees.

"Companies have been focused on the bottom line, but they're not considering the personal impact" of those decisions, he said. "Businesses should not stick their heads in the sand when it comes to these issues."

The 2013 Work Stress Survey was conducted by Harris Interactive which interviewed 1,019 employed adults nationwide.

Interestingly, top stressors varied by gender. More women pointed to low pay as the most stressful aspect of their jobs, with 18 percent women worried by wages compared with 10 percent of male respondents. Men named an unreasonable workload as their top workplace concern.

Not surprisingly, those earning less than $35,000 a year pointed to low wages as their top anxiety while those with household incomes of $100,000 and more were more stressed by unreasonable workload.

jnpearce@sltrib.com

Twitter: @jnpearce —

How to manage on-the-job stress

• Take a break and make time for friendly chitchat with co-workers.

• Eat well and exercise.

• Set reasonable expectations for yourself and others.

• Explore other opportunities. If you're very unhappy, it could be time for a change.

Source • American Psychological Association