Survey: Pay and commute are top sources of workplace stress

Low pay and long commutes are contributing factors to workplace stress, according to the survey.

Eight in 10 American workers are stressed out due to low pay and long commutes, according to a new survey conducted by Nielsen on behalf of Everest College. The career-focused education company's 2014 Work Stress Survey found little improvement in the well-being of workers since 2013. 

In addition to long commutes and less-than-desirable salaries, survey respondents said that an unreasonable workload, poor work-life balance and job uncertainty were top contributors to stress in the workplace. 

According to the survey, income also plays a significant role in the factors that contribute to stress. Among survey respondents with a household income less than $35,000, the top stressors were low pay and no opportunities for advancement. Individuals who earn more than $100,000 are more likely to cite a long commute and an unreasonable workload as their biggest work problems.

"When it comes to stress at the workplace, low pay and a long commute is a double whammy for American workers […]," Wendy Cullen, vice president of employer development for Everest College, said in a press release. Cullen added that because work occupies such a large portion of the lives of many individuals, keeping workplace stress under control is necessary for the success of any business.

With more and more studies and surveys reporting what people in the workplace already know – stress is a problem! – what's an organization to do? Implement a stress solution that measures stress and builds resiliency.

Why haven't they done this already? Companies often see stress and resiliency as nebulous, hard-to-gauge issues, so they focus instead on trying to manage its symptoms, like obesity, anxiety, depression, inactivity, smoking and substance abuse.

How do we know this doesn't work? Because the traditional health and wellness programs have been in place for 40 years and the survey results and healthcare costs are not getting any better. Plus these types of "eat your broccoli, take the stairs" kind of programs ignore a large part of the employee population who are already physically fit or have no interest in these types of programs.

It's time to respond to stress with programs that speak directly to the people, ones that help them measure their unique stress and resiliency strengths and vulnerabilities and make improvements that are most important and of interest to them. Without that, when it comes to stress, companies will just be spinning their wheels.

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