US Workers Stressing Out

December 14, 2001 ( - Workplace stress is a major problem for 9% of employees, and affects two-thirds of workers at least occasionally, according to the Second Annual "Desk Rage" Survey.

The survey, conducted by Integra Realty Resources found that workers are increasingly having arguments or breaking down under pressure, in fact:

· just over 40% saying their workplace is a place where yelling and verbal abuse takes place,
· a little under 30% admit to yelling at co-workers because of stress,
· almost a quarter have been driven to tears because of workplace stress,
· some 12% work where machinery or equipment has been damaged through workplace rage
one of 10 work in an atmosphere where physical violence has occurred because of stress, and
· one in a hundred workers say that workplace stress has caused them personally to strike a co-worker.

High Rise, High Stress

Perhaps the most striking statistics from this year’s study come from Americans who work in high-rise office buildings. According to the survey,

· some 13% of those high-rise workers have considered changing jobs as a result of September’s terrorist attacks, compared to just 3% of workers overall,
· almost 40% of high-rise workers say they are more fearful for their personal safety at their workplace as a result of the attacks, compared to 20% for workers overall,
· over a third of high-rise workers surveyed say they have some fear of a terrorist attack using anthrax delivered by mail, compared to 18% of workers overall who feel this way, and
· a quarter of high rise workers expressed some level of fear of an attack by bomb or airplane, compared to 10% of the workforce overall

The survey also revealed that:   

· one in 10 workers has called in sick because of workplace stress, and
· one in five has quit a job in the past because of stress.


Workspace may play a role in stress at work, according to the study:

· some 12% say that overcrowded physical conditions have contributed to their workplace stress,
· a similar percentage have concerns about the safety of their workplace or its parking lot, and
· almost a quarter say it’s time for their employer to redecorate.

Other causes of stress revealed by the survey were

· unreasonable deadlines, cited by 27%,
· an excessive personal workload, mentioned by 29%
· the rudeness of co-workers or clients, listed by 32%
· too much caffeine was mentioned by 7%,
· while 9% say excessive e-mail is a factor.


The study also examined the results of workplace stress, finding that it:

· caused 30% of Americans to be unable to sleep,
· has driven 23% of Americans to consume excessive alcohol,
· has caused 17% to smoke in excess, and
· has driven 23% to eat chocolate.

Results also show that work is physically stressful too. At the end of the work day,

· almost 60% complain of workplace-related back or neck pain,
· two-fifths complain of stressed out eyes, and
· a third say that their hands hurt.

The survey comprised the responses of 1206 working adults in the continental US. It was conducted between November 8 to November 12, 2001.