- Seventy percent of workers stress about their health, jobs and finances, and more than 20% spend at least five hours each week thinking about these stressors during their working hours, according to a Colonial Life study study of 1,505 full-time U.S. employees between ages 18 and 70. Another 50% said they lose between one and five hours of work time each week due to stress, the survey said. Citing the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Colonial Life said that with 128.5 million full-time employees earning on average $21 per hour, employers are losing billions on workers because of workers who are disengaged or unproductive because of stress.
- Jobs and health are workers' biggest worries, the study showed, with three of their top six concerns relating to health. Workers also described how they feel when stressed: 41% felt less productive, 33% felt less engaged and 15% said stress made them look for a new job.
- Laurie Mitchell, Colonial Life's assistant VP for global wellbeing and health, said employers can help stress-plagued workers by: offering them access to an employee assistance program (EAP); providing telehealth services for emotional health, mobile health apps for stress reduction and mindfulness, fitness centers and financial well-being programs; and promoting work-life balance by offering flexible work options, paid time off, paid parental leave and other paid leave programs.
Recent findings demonstrate the pervasiveness and severity of stress in the workplace. Employees are reporting higher stress levels than they did two years ago, according to recent research. On a scale of one to ten, a full 80% of workers gave their stress levels a 7-point rating or higher. And like Colonial Life's study, a Fidelity Investment report named finances and job-related issues as the top stressors for workers.
Unmanaged stress can have serious health consequences for workers and can cost employers in healthcare spending, lost productivity, absenteeism and turnover, as Colonial Life mentioned in its report, but HR can help provide solutions. EAPs can be workers' first line of defense to manage stress, along with wellness programs designed to improve employees' financial and mental health. Benefits and perks that give workers more agency over their time might also alleviate their stress. Not only are flexible work schedules and remote-work options highly valued benefits, workers have said that these offerings can reduce their stress. Workers also report being more productive — and less stressed — working from home.