Make us your home page

Workers in the Northeast most stressed out

Feeling frazzled at work? So is your annoying co-worker.

A recent survey conducted by Harris Interactive for Everest College found 80 percent of Americans feel stressed by at least one thing on the job.

Workers in the Northeast were the most in need of a chill pill, with 86 percent feeling stressed compared with 75 percent in the West.

Overall, long commutes and low pay tied as the No. 1 workplace stressors, closely followed by unreasonable workloads. Annoying co-workers ranked third.

Next came poor work-life balance, working in a job that is not a chosen career, lack of advancement and fear of being fired or laid off.

The high overall level of stress means companies and their employees need to do a better job of finding ways to combat the problem, said Wendy Cullen, vice president of employer development at Everest, a chain of for-profit colleges in the United States and Canada.

"Work occupies a large portion of our lives, so keeping workplace stress in check is an absolute necessity in maintaining overall wellness," she said.

Employers can help by offering formal wellness-type programs aimed at promoting mental and physical health, she said.

Companies also may want to offer workers the option of telecommuting from home, even if it's only a few days a week or on specific projects to cut down on those stressful commutes.

Employees suffering with low pay or long commutes should help themselves by developing a plan of action, Cullen said. "You really need to decide if this is the right job for me, and if it's not, take charge and make a change."

Cullen noted that many people who lost their jobs during the 2008 and 2009 downturn are now underemployed. With the job market picking up again, this is a good time to resume the hunt for a better position, she said.

People also can focus on destressing by exercising and taking time to relax at home.

"Just do activities that take your mind off the long commute and not having a big paycheck," Cullen said. "If there are things you can't control, you need to learn to manage those."

Perhaps supporting the adage that with age comes wisdom, the survey showed that workers 65 and older were more likely than any other age group (50 percent) to say there was nothing about their job that stressed them out.

Education and income levels also played roles in the responses.

Low pay was the most-often cited stressor among workers with household incomes under $50,000 and among those with less than a college education.

The highest earners, and those with at least a college education, were more likely to cite unreasonable workloads or poor work-life balance as their top stressor.

"It makes sense," Cullen said. "If you are an exempt employee versus (being paid) hourly, if positions are not being backfilled, you could be working 60 hours per week but still be getting the same paycheck."

One bright spot in the survey, she said, was the dropoff in the percentage of people saying they were afraid of getting canned. That fell from 9 percent in Everest's first workplace stress poll in 2011 to 4 percent in this year's survey.

"It's good to see that people are feeling better about the sustainability of their workplace."

Workers in the Northeast most stressed out 05/26/14 [Last modified: Thursday, May 29, 2014 7:43pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Tribune News Service.

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Appointments at Port Tampa Bay and Tampa General Medical Group highlight this week's Tampa Bay business Movers & Shakers



    Port Tampa Bay announced that Jamal Sowell has been named director of special projects. Sowell, a former member of the U.S.Marine Corps, will support internal, external and special projects, assist the executive team with management oversight and serve as a liaison on a variety of port …

    Port Tampa Bay announced this week that Jamal Sowell has been named director of special projects. [Handout photo]
  2. Drones restrictions coming at Tampa Bay area airports


    Starting Sept. 1, Tampa International Airport officials will be enforcing new height restrictions for drones and other unmanned aircraft systems, according to a press release.

    In this February 2017 file photo, a drone flies in Hanworth Park in west London. Starting Sept. 1, Tampa International Airport officials will be enforcing new height restrictions for drones and other unmanned aircraft systems,
[John Stillwell/PA via AP, File]
  3. Gov. Scott backs off boycott of companies doing business in Venezuela

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Gov. Rick Scott will ask the Florida Cabinet next month to prohibit the state's investment managers from doing something they already do not do: invest in companies or securities owned or controlled by the Venezuelan government.

    Florida Governor Rick Scott interacts with people as he holds a Venezuelan Freedom Rally at El Arepazo 2 restaurant on July 10 in Miami. [Joe Raedle | Getty Images]
  4. Superior Uniform Group reports $65.6 million in sales for second quarter


    SEMINOLE — Superior Uniform Group Inc. reported sales of $65.6 million in net sales for the second quarter, up a percentage point from the same quarter last year, the Seminole-based company reported Thursday.

    Superior Uniform Group Inc. saw a sales increase for the second quarter, the company reported Thursday. Pictured is Michael Benstock, CEO. | [Courtesy of Superior Uniform Group]
  5. Air bag inflator ruptures, driver killed in Pasco County


    DETROIT — Automaker Honda says a driver from Pasco County died in a crash earlier this month that involved an exploding Takata air bag inflator.

    Honda says a driver near Tampa has died in a crash that involved an exploding Takata air bag inflator. 
[Associated Press]