Job Stressors Literally a Pain in the Neck

October 24, 2006 ( - A new survey commissioned by the Swingline Workspace Tools Group has found that 66% of workers say job stress causes actual physical problems.

According to a press release on the survey, 35% of office workers surveyed said they have experienced fatigue as a result of job-related stress. More than one-fourth (27%) said job stressors have caused back pain, and 26% have felt neck strain as a result of job stressors. Other physical symptoms of job stress cited by respondents included repetitive motion injuries such as wrist sprain or hand cramps (18%), stomach discomfort (17%), and vision problems (15%).

When asked which job aspects they would most like to alter because they require excessive effort, 43% of survey participants chose dealing with office politics, the press release said. Other job stressors respondents said they would like to change included:

  • Dealing with problem clients (25%),
  • Handling a difficult boss or client (21%),
  • Handling work assignments and programs (14%),
  • Coordinating internal resources (12%),
  • Mastering computer software programs (10%), and
  • Handling physical tasks such as shredding, stapling, filing and binding (6%).

To handle these stressors, almost half (46%) of workers responding to the survey said they would like workplace massages or physical fitness courses to be offered, while 27% said more frequent breaks would help relieve their workplace stress. Other things respondents said would reduce the physical discomfort caused by job stressors included ergonomic desk chairs (36%), a larger or adjustable computer monitor or display (23%), hands-free phone devices and better lighting (16% each), and easier-to-use office tools (14%).

Finally, the survey asked workers what activities they would prefer if their job required less effort and gave them more free time and energy outside of work hours. The number one response was to spend time with family and friends (71%), while exercise came in second with 61% of votes. More than half chose travel (57%) and reading (55%), and more than a third chose volunteering (36%), going to the movies or sleeping (35%), and sitting in front of the TV (34%).

The survey was conducted online within the US by Harris Interactive on behalf of the Swingline Workspace Tools Group between September 12 and 14, 2006 among 909 US adults 18 years of age or older who work in an office setting. The survey is part of the “Swingline Office Outlook” quarterly survey series.

More information about Swingline is at .