Effects Of Work-Related Stress

Numerous studies show that stress caused at the workplace is widespread. Most people will experience aspects of stress at work sometimes, and no business can totally prevent this. No single factor alone is likely to be the cause of someone becoming stressed at work.

Stress tends to build up over a period of time through a combination of circumstances, some of which may not be related to work at all. Problems in domestic relationships, family strife or financial worries can lead to decreased performance on the job. Most job stress, however, derives from problems in the work environment.

  • A survey of 201 U.S. corporations revealed that 60% of all managers felt that stress-related illness was pervasive among their workers and decreased productivity at an estimated cost of 16 days of sick leave and $8,000 per person per year.
  • Stress also contributes to the development of alcoholism, obesity, suicide, drug addiction, cigarette addiction,and other harmful behaviors. The United Kingdom Health and Safety Executive has estimated that stress costs the UK industry an estimated £9.6 billion every year (HSE, 2006)
  • European figures suggest that approximately 41 million people in Europe (nearly one in three workers) are affected by stress, costing European member states more than 20 billion Euros every year. (Paoli and Merllie, 2000)
  • Stress also contributes to the development of alcoholism, obesity, suicide, drug addiction, cigarette addiction, and other harmful behaviors.In the United States, it is estimated that 297 million working days are lost to stress, costing the US economy $150 billion every year (Whatson Wyatt Wordwide, 2001)
  • Productivity losses from presenteeism (showing up for work when sick, depressed, worried or in pain) may run up to 60% of the total cost of worker illness, exceeding the costs of absenteeism, medical and disability benefits. Presenteeism adds significantly to the workload and stress level of others.
  • In the United Kingdom, it is estimated that the average cost of presenteeism per employee per year is £605.
  • Employees working with on-the-job injuries create lost time currently estimated to cost the US $180 billion per year.
  • Cardiovascular disease, including heart disease, stroke, hypertension and congestive heart failure, cost an estimated $393 billion to US companies in 2005.
  • The 2000 annual “Attitudes in the American Workplace VI” Gallup Poll sponsored by the Marlin Company found that:
                    –     80% of workers feel stress on the job, nearly half say they need help in  learning how to manage
                           stress and 42% say their coworkers need such help;

–     4% of respondents had felt like striking a coworker in the past year, but didn’t;

                    –     25% have felt like screaming or shouting because of job stress, 10% are concerned about an
                           individual at work they fear could become violent;
 –     9% are aware of an assault or violent act in their workplace and 18% had experienced some sort
        of threat or verbal intimidation in the past year.
  • In the United States, stress related industrial accidents cost businesses and  insurers twice as much as non-stress related claims. (A. Perkins, Harvard Business Review, 1994)
  • The American Institute for Stress estimates that between 60 and 80 per cent of accidents are stress-related.