Wellness
stressful workplaces

The Recession Spells Increased Stress for Workers

The majority of surveyed employees reported that their workplaces have become more stressful in the last 5 years. Experts point to the recession as the culprit.

In a new poll, 92 percent of North American workers reported that their workplaces are more stressful now than they were 5 years ago. These results led Right Management, a talent and career management firm, to surmise that the recession has led to the uptick in workplace stress.

“Nearly everybody thinks stress has grown over the past five years ... in other words, since the recession began,” said Monika Morrow, senior vice president of career management at Right Management. “That prolonged economic downturn prompted staff cutbacks, curtailed training and development initiatives, reduced opportunities for career advancement and made for heavier workloads all around.”

Management and employees alike have been hard pressed during the recession. In many workplaces, operations have been streamlined, the employee headcount has decreased, the competition is greater and more pressure is felt at all levels of the workplace. Furthermore, at the upper levels, management and leaders face a relentless focus on results and earnings, stress that is then translated throughout the organization.

Morrow advises organizations to avoid denial when concerns about workplace stress are raised.

“Ignoring the problem may only complicate a difficult situation,” she said. “What management must do is acknowledge the heavier burdens and make efforts to have them shared fairly. Expectations must be clarified, and priorities rationalized.”

Right Management conducted an online survey of 581 employees in the United States and Canada in February and March. Seventy-four percent of respondents strongly agree with the statement that their workplace is more stressful compared to 5 years ago, while 18 percent somewhat agree. Six percent disagreed.

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