In a recent Forbes magazine article Kathryn Dill discusses the results from two recent surveys related to job stress, indicating that about one third of US employees change jobs because of psychological stress.
According to the American Institute of Stress, 83% of workers in the USA suffer from work-related stress, which can cause around one million workers to miss work each day, and costs US businesses around $300 billion annually.
In the United Kingdom, the UK Health and Safety Executive has found that stress, anxiety and depression that are work-related account for around 44% of all the UK’s work-related ill health, as well as 15.4 million work days lost annually.
The first survey was conducted by the employment search site, Monster.com, with over 7000 US workers. As per another separate survey of more than 900 workers, the major reason of workplace stress is the employee’s relationship with their manager.
According to Mary Ellen Slayter, Career Advice Expert at Monster “People feel stressed out because there’s that continuing pressure to do more with less. Workers feel pressure to get more accomplished”.
The study does not differentiate between different types of workplace stressors, for example, an accountant’s increased workload during tax season versus an overbearing supervisor, focusing instead on the results of stress as observed by employees.
Below is shown a brief summary of the major surveys’ results:
– 42% of employees have purposely changed jobs due to stress, and to run away from stressful work environment.
– An employee’s relationship with their boss is the most common cause of workplace stress, followed closely by workload.
– 61% think that workplace stress has caused them actual physical illness, and this may include insomnia, depression, and family issues.
– 7% percent of employees hospitalized believe work-related stress was responsible.
– A quarter of those surveyed report drinking as a way to cope with stress.
Interestingly, according to Kathryn Dill’s articles when people involved in these surveys were asked “What does your office do to help alleviate stress in the workplace?” 13% noted additional time off and 11% cited the opportunity to work from home, but the majority, 66%, answered “nothing.”
The Work Stress Questionnaire (WSQ) was developed as a self-administered questionnaire with the purpose of early identification of individuals at risk of being sick-listed due to work-related stress.
A survey on work-related disorders that was carried out among workers in Sweden in 2016, found that 26% of the female workforce and 19% of the male experienced disorders related to their working situation. The survey also found that up until 2014, physical conditions have been the predominant cause for work-related disorders among men, however, stress and mental strain has now reached the same levels. Estimating the cost of work-related stress to society is complex, depending on definition of work-related stress and costs associated to it. The cost per year to society has been found to range between 221.3 million USD to 187 billion
An increasing level of men on sick leave due to stress-related disorders calls for a valid instrument for early identification of persons at risk of being put out of work due to these factors. Results from the present study indicate that the WSQ is a reliable and valid questionnaire when used on a male target group.
The 2019 study by Anna Frantz and Kristina Holmgren concluded that reliability and face validity of the WSQ was found to be satisfying when used on a male population. This indicates that the questionnaire can be used also for a male target group.