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A Better Way to Cut Workplace Stress

Cora Nucci, for HealthLeaders Media, November 18, 2013

What Causes Stress in the Workplace?
The study finds that 78% of companies put stress at the top of the list of workforce challenges. But employers and employees don't agree on the causes, not by a long shot. According to employee data from a different Towers Watson survey with 5,070 U.S. respondents, there is a glaring difference of opinion between employers and employees.

Employers cite "lack of work/life balance (excessive workloads or long hours)" as the number-one cause of stress. Employees cite "inadequate staffing (lack of support, uneven workload or performance in group)."

Note that these issues are mirror images. Both boil down to too much work and not enough time to do it in—a classic recipe for stress. By labeling this cause as "work/life balance," employers, intentionally or not, thrust some of the onus onto employees to rebalance themselves. Employees citing "inadequate staffing" place the blame on management, who often have limited or no control over hiring budgets.

The solution to this endless conflict is for employers to gain a better understanding of the stressors that impede employee health and align benefits programs accordingly.

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