It may come as no surprise that employers and employees have different opinions on the main workplace stress causes. It can seem at times that employers are from Mercury and employees are from Neptune.
Very few employees or employers would likely find the following overheard conversation fragments the least bit remarkable or disturbing:
Two co-workers: “I can’t for the life of me explain to management how redundant this new procedure is for those in my department.”
Manager to employer: “I just can’t get Sara to understand that the more time she spends up-front with the reports she prepares for me, the more efficient the back end of the project will become.”
Whatever the reasons for differences in employers and employees’ opinions, perspectives, and expectations—they exist.
Employers and Employees Have Divergent Opinions on Main Workplace Stress Causes
Seventy-five percent of U.S. employers chose stress as the greatest concern with respect to productivity and health.
When asked about the causes of stress, answers were highly divergent between employers and employees. Out of the top three causes chosen by employers and employees, there was only one cause in common: Inadequate staffing.
So how divergent were the opinions as to the main causes of workplace stress? Here are the findings:
Lack of work/life balance 1 6
Inadequate staffing 2 1
Tech requesting work after hours 3 12
Organizational change 4 5
Personal financial concerns 5 7
Conflicting or unclear job expectations 6 4
Job loss concerns 7 11
Concerns about benefit reduction/loss 8 10
Lack of manager support 9 8
High-demand jobs with low control 10 9
Low pay 11 2
Company culture 12 3
When you look at some of the highly divergent opinions as to the main causes of stress, i.e. Company culture; and Technologies that expand availability during non-working hours, it is amazing that companies actually get work done.
Stress Levels in The U.S. Workplace
A 2016 report by Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and NPR called The Workplace and and Health asked working Americans about how their jobs affect all aspects of their health.
In one portion of the report, researchers tabulated responses to the following question: “Do you think your current job is good or bad for your [INSERT ITEM], or does it not have an impact one way or another?” When “stress levels” was the term used in [INSERT ITEM], it received the highest negative ranking. Other negative ratings include:
- Forty-three percent said work negatively affects stress levels
- Twenty-eight percent said work negatively affects dietary choices
- Twenty-two percent said it negatively affects weight
- Twenty-seven percent said work negatively affects sleep
- Seventeen percent said work negatively affects both social and family life
As you can see above, stress had the greatest percentage of all workplace health complaints. When ranking stress by industry, the report found that 54 percent of restaurant employees believed work negatively affects their stress levels. Other high-ranking stress industries included:
- Fifty-two percent of medical workers
- Forty-seven percent of school workers
- Forty-six percent of office workers
- Forty-two percent of retail workers
The Good News
It doesn’t matter much if employers and employees disagree workplace stress causes if we don’t have ways to cope with workplace stress.
Stress-reduction strategies that include yoga, massage therapy, weight management, diet, nutrition, and more are starting to be offered as part of benefit packages.
And these programs are needed for stress affects health, morale, productivity, and the bottom line.
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