It will likely not come as a surprise that nearly half of professionals report experiencing high levels of workplace stress. From the demand be available 24/7 to growing job insecurity in the face of a disrupted economy, workplace stress is on the rise. The good news is that something can be done about the problem. Research suggests that training is essential in reducing workplace stress.
Results of the 2019 LinkedIn Study
According to a recent survey of more than 2800 professionals carried out by LinkedIn, nearly half (49%) of workers report feeling stressed on the job. The biggest sources of stress are work-life balance (70%), confidence in one’s job security (64%), sense of direction or purpose (64%), workplace politics (63%), and access to technologies and tools needed to do one’s job well (62%).
On a generational level, members of Generation X are currently most stressed at work and most concerned about their future job security. Over half of Generation Xers are experiencing workplace stress. Only 46% of their Millennial counterparts are stressed out at work. According to the linked study, the reason for the difference likely has everything to do with how current changes in the workplace are impacting people of different generations. For example, in general, older workers are more concerned about how their job security may be threatened by coming AI innovations.
Finally, the LinkedIn study found that as people move up from lower to middle management positions and eventually from middle-management to executive roles, their stress only increases. Reasons for feeling stressed on the job also change depending on where one is located in an organization. For middle managers, workload is the key problem. Individual contributors are more likely to feel stressed because they lack the tools required to do their job or because they don’t feel a sense of belonging at work.
The High Cost of Workplace Stress
The growing problem of work-related stress should not be diminished. Stress is just one of the many factors currently leading to mental health problems in the workplace, and the negative effects aren’t simply experienced on an individual level. Workplace stress and anxiety also impact the bottom line. The World Health Organization has found that depression and anxiety combined come at a cost of US $1 trillion each year in lost productivity on a global scale.
According to Dr. Camille Preston, a business psychologist and the founder and CEO of AIM Leadership, the problem isn’t just that stress is on the rise and costing organizations but also that there is a prevailing taboo about directly addressing workplace stress. As Preston observes, “Talking about mental health is rare.” She added that this is likely due to the fact that there is a prevailing culture that makes talking about mental health in the workplace taboo.
Fortunately, there are ways to mitigate the impacts stress and anxiety are having on individuals and organizations.
Workplace Learning Can Mitigate Stress
A 2018 LinkedIn survey of 2,400 professionals found a strong link between learning and lower rates of stress. More specifically, a summary of the study’s findings found that people who spend time learning something new at work are 47% less likely to report stress, 39% more likely to report feeling productive and successful, and 23% more prepared to tackle new responsibilities. The same study found that the number one reason people quit their current jobs is because they feel they are no longer learning and growing at work.