Stress at Work Impacts Job Performance

November 12, 2013 ( – Stress at work contributes to poor job performance, more so than stress from other sources, a study suggests.

Stress at work contributes to poor job performance more than stress at home or financial worries, according to the study by the Integrated Benefits Institute (IBI).

The study assessed employees’ job performance through self-reported ratings on how often the employee was not careful, had difficulty concentrating, got less done than others and at times got no work done. The results show job performance steadily declines as stress at work increases. Among employees who never experience stress at work, 68% perform at or above the average performance. Just 41% of employees who experience permanent or continual workplace stress perform at that performance level.

“Employers are between a rock and a hard place in dealing with workplace stress. On the one hand, the challenging economy translates into employees working longer hours and experiencing more stress at work. On the other hand, employers want a high-performing work force,” says Thomas Parry, president of the San Francisco-based IBI.

In examining what actions could help employers manage stress at work and improve employee performance, the study shows healthier employees are less likely to experience work-related stress, with those in excellent health least likely to be stressed out. For example, 27% of employees in excellent health never experience work stress, compared with 9% who report experiencing permanent or continual stress. Within the fair or poor health group, 15% of employees experience permanent or continual stress compared with just 6% who never experience work stress.

“The findings highlight employers’ opportunity to manage employees’ harmful stress, since they have more influence over the work environment than on an employee’s home life or financial situation,” adds Kimberly Jinnett, IBI’s research director.

The Integrated Benefits Institute is a nonprofit provider of health and productivity research, measurement and benchmarking.

The study is based on data containing health risk appraisal information from 6,437 employees and job performance items from the HPQ-Select employee health and productivity self-report survey. More information about the study can be found here.