Almost all employees are affected by work-related stress and a new study gives some insight into how high work-related stress is, what causes it, events that make it worse and what employers can do to improve productivity and retention.
Work-related stress affects 94 percent of employees and almost a third of them experience “high” or “unsustainably high” stress, according to a new study by Wrike. Nearly 50 percent of employees said workplace stress makes them “check out.” “Checking out” is estimated to cost US companies $450 to $550 billion in lost productivity annually.
Over 25 percent of employees said they will burn out in the next 12 months if they can’t reduce their stress levels. More than 50 percent have searched for a new job due to stress at work. Almost half of staff turnover is caused by employee burnout and recruiting costs US companies roughly $160 billion a year.
Employees are taking their work-stress home with them. More than 50 percent said work-related stress has had a negative effect on their home life at least once a week. For 10 percent of employees, work-related stress has affected their home life almost every day. Work-related stress caused more than 50 percent of employees to lose sleep.
What’s stressing so many employees out? Poor communication was the top stressor for employees at companies both small and large. It was followed by team members not pulling their weight on projects, though smaller organizations were equally stressed about being overloaded. Bottlenecks, waiting for others to take action, was one of the top stressors for almost 30 percent of employees at companies small and large.
Receiving assignments with unrealistic deadlines were events that had the highest impact on employee stress levels. The second greatest stress inducer was being unable to locate information employees know they’ve seen in the past. For some, too much time spent in meetings meant that they don’t have enough time to do actual work.
Wrike’s study assesses the severity of employee stress and its main drivers. Employers can start to lessen the high levels of stress employees experience by improving communication, adjusting workloads, reviewing information systems and reigning in time spent in meetings.
It could also be advantageous for employers to look into stress management program offerings as an employee benefit. Close to 20 percent of employees said they’ve sought professional help with stress management and if it’s something that’s included in their benefits package that number could be even higher. Investing in the well-being of employees can differentiate an employer and help reduce profits lost to productivity and turnover each year.