It isn’t just the last couple of years where this has increased either:
This spike isn’t surprising to Jim Harter, Gallup’s chief workplace scientist, who tells CNBC Make It that rates of daily stress, worry, sadness and anger have been trending upward for American workers since 2009. Concerns over the virus, sickness, financial insecurity and racial trauma all contributed to added stress during the pandemic.
So, as an employer, what’s the take away from this study? The people who work for you are stressed, and it’s not just because of work. If you click the link, you’ll learn that it’s not even just that stress is up for everyone. Women, on average, have even higher levels of stress due to the likelihood of dealing with more childcare issues. So, you need to consider that, as well as any individual issues that may be causing more or less stress for the people who work for you.
In the end, maybe that’s the take away I would want any manager to have. That each of your employees is an individual, with individual issues in their own lives in and out of work. Don’t assume you know, and don’t assume they are all OK. Consider some of the larger points about how you can contribute in a positive way to support your employees.
After all, you can either do what you can to help, and keep them with you, or lose them when they realize that the job that does nothing but cause additional stress, with no support, isn’t worth their mental health.
I know which employer I’d rather work for, and increasingly, I’m not alone in that.
As an employee, my take away is simple. How much stress can I add to my life through work versus how much just exists that I have no control over? There’s a ton of reasons to be stressed, no question. You work may be part of that, but can we keep the work part of it in perspective? Can you, and your employer, have some realistic expectations about the level of importance work plays in the overall world? I suspect there are a lot of bosses out there pushing people to get work done on time, when that “time” is fairly arbitrary and unimportant. Maybe save some of that for when it really does matter?