Workplace Stress: It’s Getting Worse

A recent survey by global professional services company Towers Watson revealed that North American workers cite excessive workloads, lack of work-life balance, unclear or conflicting job expectations and inadequate staffing as the top sources of workplace stress.

The survey was completed by 335 human resources and/or health benefit managers inCanada(87) and theUnited States(248) with at least 1,000 employees. The responding organizations employ 7.8 million workers and operate in all major industry sectors.

Key findings of the survey

Mental health conditions continue to be the most common reason for disability claims.

The top three drivers of short-term disability claims are:

    • Mental health conditions (83%)
    • Muskuloskeletal/back issues at (76%)
    • Accidents (37%)

Employee stress is a major and growing business issue.

Many are planning to adapt their organizational health strategies for the next two years to include a focus on mental health (61%) as well as physical health.

The top sources of workplace stress are:

    • Excessive workloads
    • Lack of work/life balance
    • Unclear or conflicting job expectations
    • Inadequate staffing

Today nearly 9 in 10 (89%) employers say excessive workload is a problem — a staggering 25% jump from 2009 to 2011 (from 64% to 89%).

The sad news:

Though organizations are striving to limit the impact of workforce stress on business performance, the majority report underwhelming results. In fact, less than 10% of companies say their actions have produced significant success.

Mike Martin is a freelance writer and consultant specializing in workplace wellness and conflict resolution. He is the author of “Change the Things You Can” (Dealing with Difficult People). For more information about Mike please visit:

www.changethethingsyoucan.wordpress.com

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