A new NPR/Robert Wood Johnson Foundation survey looks at stress, overwork, and hazards in the workplace. The outcomes, while they do not surprise, certainly strengthen the case for getting workers help for dealing with stress.

The poll seems to point to overwork as a potent form of stress. About a fifth of us work more than 50 hours per week at a primary job (which doesn’t count the many, many people who need a second job just to get by in our economy). Even more shocking: About half of us do not use all or most of our allotted vacation days!

Fear of job loss in a job market that has been sluggish for close to a decade may be the culprit behind workers delaying vacations or working extra hours. Yet while some stress can be good for Getting Things Done, it’s been proven time and again that being overstressed actually leads to a decrease in productivity.  The American Institute of Stress estimates that job stress costs U.S. industry more than $300 billion each year.

The Hazards of Work

Some of us face real hazards at work—law enforcement, the armed services, medical workers, construction workers, these are jobs for which the workers lay their bodies on the line each and every day.

But the NPR/Robert Wood Johnson survey shows that there is another kind of hazard that most of us face at work: Our offices often endanger our lifestyle health. High proportions of workers report that their job negatively affects their eating habits, sleeping habits, and weight. And when you’re working 50 hours or more per week, who has time to exercise?

Can a well-designed intervention to help employees keep their personal health habits prioritized help reduce stress and improve productivity at your workplace?  QHS can help you find out!

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