Survey: Workplace Stresses Easing

April 5, 2004 ( - The number of American workers at the stress breaking point has eased considerably since last year, a new survey indicated.

The poll by ComPsych Corporation, an employee assistance program provider, found just under half of respondents (49%) said they had high stress levels which left them fatigued and a feeling of being out of control – down 14% from the company’s last stress poll taken in October 2003. ComPsych polled employees of 1,000 of its client companies.

If employees have mellowed in the last six months, they apparently didn’t mellow much. The poll found 44% of respondents who still described their stress as constant but manageable. That was up 12% from the 2003 survey. ComPysch said.

ComPsych respondents identified their stressors (compared to the 2003 poll) as:

  • workload, 38%, down 4%
  • people issues, 36%, up 7%
  • home/work balance, 17%, up 1%
  • lack of job security 9%, down 4%.

The survey also revealed 56% of respondents said meeting their responsibilities was their highest work priority, down 4%, while 27% of employees see being present as the top work priority, up 5% points from October. Strikingly, more than half (53%) said they had missed one to two days per year because they were stressed out, up 9% from 2003.

“Employees have reached a ‘cruising altitude’ in terms of stress levels,” said Richard Chaifetz, chairman and CEO of ComPsych. “Stress and productivity levels can only go so high, and what we are seeing is consistent with recent decreases in productivity and talk of job hopping once the market improves. Workers, after prolonged overwork due to lean staffs, are at a point of indifference and may feel they can’t give any more. This is the time when employers should support employees and focus on rerecruiting – or face a major talent loss in the coming months.”

The StressPulse survey was conducted from February 6 to March 8, 2004. For complete survey results, please contact Jennifer Hudson of ComPsych at 312-595-4048 or