Feeling Stressed? Your Boss Probably Has No Idea Why
The reason you’re feeling stress at work and the reason your boss thinks you’re feeling stressed are likely not one and the same, according to a new study.
Stressed at work? Well, the source of your stress may not be resonating with your boss, according to a new study sponsored by the National Business Group on Health.
The survey, which found that stress is the number-one workforce risk issue—even above physical inactivity and obesity—demonstrated an employee-employer disconnect when it comes to causes of workplace stress.
For example, employees identified the top three work stressors as:
- inadequate staffing
- low pay or low pay increases
- unclear or conflicting job expectations.
Employers, meanwhile, attribute workplace stress to:
- lack of work/life balance (employees ranked this fifth)
- inadequate staffing
- the pressure to be “on” all the time due to technology advancements.
“Employers that fail to understand employees’ views on stress risk diverting time and resources to fixing the wrong problems and, at the same time, alienating employees,” Shelly Wolff, senior healthcare consultant at Towers Watson, which conducted the study, said in a statement.
Eighty-five percent of surveyed employers said they try to address stress management by promoting employee assistance programs (EAPs)—wellness programs offered to help employees cope with personal or work-related issues—but only 5 percent of employees reported using this resource. They instead are turning to leisure activities, social support, and physical activities.
“Employers need to understand their employees’ stress drivers, assess their health and productivity programs in light of the findings, and leverage what employees are already doing to cope with stress,” Helen Darling, president of National Business Group on Health, said in a statement. “Employers should improve and promote EAPs, encourage employees to take vacations, design company-sponsored physical activities, and offer formal programs to effectively manage stress.”
And in case employers need another reason to help workers deal with stress: Research is showing that chronic stress can compromise your immune system. A recent study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that repeated exposure to stressful environments can change the gene expression in immune cells, eventually leading to increased risk for cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, obesity, and other disorders.
How do you cope with workplaces stress? Let us know in the comments.