Coworkers Beat out Workload as Number One Stressor

October 9, 2006 ( - "People issues" have replaced workload as the number one cause of workplace stress for the first time in ComPsych's StressPulse survey.

Fifty-five percent of the employees responding to this year’s survey reported high levels of stress, resulting in extreme fatigue and feeling out of control, while 42% said they had constant, but manageable, stress levels, according to a ComPsych news release. Only 3% said their stress levels were low.

People issues were cited as a cause of stress by 36% of respondents, compared to 28% last year (See Stress Levels Still High With Workload as Frequent Cause ). The number citing workload as a cause of stress dropped from 45% last year to 28%. Other causes of stress, according to the news release, were “juggling work and personal life” (22%) and “lack of job security” (4%).

“New hires have picked up somewhat, which can lead to turf wars led by current employees,” said Richard Chaifetz, chairman and CEO of ComPsych, in the news release. “At the same time, wages have not caught up with inflation. This can cause workers to feel they are competing for less resources, resulting in tension and interpersonal conflict in the workplace.”

Forty percent of respondents said stress causes them to lose an hour or more a day in productivity, while almost as many (38%) said it causes them to lose 15 – 30 minutes a day. In addition, 47% said they miss one or two work days a year due to stress, and 33% said they miss three to six days per year.

Meanwhile, two-thirds of those surveyed said they cope with stress by taking “stress breaks” at work to talk with coworkers, 24% said they work harder to cope with stress, and 10% said they take a day off.

More about the survey and ComPsych, a provider of employee assistance programs, can be found at .