Quality of Work is Affected by Stress! What Triggers Your Stress, and How Can Employers Help?


Like many Americans, it is natural to be bothered by a few things in your work environment.  Some people are bothered by a coworker, their salary, or even their fear of being fired.  These, and other factors, are categories of stress in one’s work environment. 

We all know that the higher we are stressed at our jobs, the higher the chances that the quality of our work can progressively decrease.  So where does this leave the quality of America’s output, as the stress levels of the workers are progressively increasing?

Harrison Interactive, of Everest College, conducted a study of stress factors at work and how much individuals are bothered by it.  This study was conducted by phone, using 100 adults, between February 21st, and March 3rd.  This study was conducted last year, also, and according to their sample size, 73% of American workers were stressed by some factor of their jobs last year.  It is no surprise that this year’s study (released earlier this week) shows that, at a number of 83%, even more American workers are stressed at their jobs.

Below is the data from the study:


Percentage of Stress Factors at Work for American Workers by Year
              Stress Factor Year 2012     Year 2013
Low Pay 11%     14%
Unreasonable Workload 9%     14%
Commuting 9%     11%
Annoying Co-Workers 10%     11%
Working Outside Chosen Career 8%     8%
Work-Life Balance 5%     7%
Lack of Advancement Oportunity 5%     6%
Boss 4%     N/A
Fear of Being Fired N/A     4%

Since last year, each individual factor that didn’t remain constant, increased. The top two stress factors this year are pay and an unreasonable workload. Last year pay was still one of the top two stress factors along with annoying co-workers, which increased this year, also, just not as much as the stress of an unreasonable workload.

With the quality of American output at risk, what can companies do to keep the stress level of American workers down?  My personal opinion is to start by creating a comfortable work environment.  Some companies, such as Google, do many things to keep their work environments as stress-less as possible.  Google offers many perks to its staff, such as relaxation rooms, giant slides, free meals via gourmet chefs, motorized scooters to move through the offices, the option to bring pets to work, prayer rooms, company outings, and many more!  There are also some days where the employees have to stop the work their doing, to do something fun that they enjoy.



If all companies headed towards creating a relaxed environment, the stress levels of employees would decrease, increasing the quality of their work. Because pay has consistently been the number one stress factor of American workers, employers should consider giving raises to the well-deserving employees. Keeping employees as stress-less as possible can be considered as an investment in the increased quality of the employees’ work.

Because commuting is another high factor, companies should also consider parking perks for employees, where they can park for free in a company parking lot. Businesses can also consider a program with their city’s transit services, where the employees can receive discounts on bus and train passes.





Forbes- http://www.forbes.com/sites/susanadams/2013/04/09/stressed-out-at-work-its-getting-worse-study-shows/

Chicago Tribune- http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2012-08-26/business/ct-biz-0827-workplace-stress-20120827_1_workplace-stress-annoying-co-workers-everest-college

Global Staff- http://globolstaff.com/the-perks-of-working-at-google.html


19 thoughts on “Quality of Work is Affected by Stress! What Triggers Your Stress, and How Can Employers Help?

  1. It is no surprise that in today’s economy many are stressed out at work due to pay and other factors. Because many companies are cutting costs in almost every department, workers are constantly pressured to do only the best job since their job is constantly on the line.
    I am not surprised that the survey jumped from 73% last year to 83% perfect of American workers stressed out this year. It is also no surprise that the top two reasons are low pay and unreasonable workload. In a way, I feel that maybe some companies are using the bad economy to their advantage. They are aware how much stress every worker has about whether they will lose their job or not. With that being said, they know that although the workload is unreasonable that it will get done because no one wants to lose their job.
    It would be amazing if everyone had the work environment Google provides for their work staff, however, it is simply not possible for each company. I do hope, however, that companies will start seeing how effective it is and perhaps try and provide an environment like this for all their locations.

  2. What some of the articles failed to mention is that there is good stress and bad stress. I think every individual needs a certain amount of stress and that amount is good for them – stress is what gets you out of bed! Certainly there is that bad kind of stress: burnout, overworking and like you mention, stress that comes from not getting paid enough or having annoying coworkers. I don’t think companies need to go out of their way to make their employees “happy” but a little bit of empathy goes a long way. Where I work, the employers throw us an occasional appreciation lunch. This doesn’t deter from my work but sure motivates me because I know my work is valued and appreciated. The thought of free parking does sound good, though!

    1. If you can’t handle the heat get out of the kitchen. Of course I don’t mean to be invidious. However, stress is a very effective emotion that when directed in a positive way can produce amazing results. Stress is a type of fuel the body uses to get things done. Stress may also be a good business tool to weed out employees who are unfit for the job. I absolutely agree working conditions are very important. But this brings up an interesting question in regards to Google. Who do you suppose pays for the relaxation rooms, giant slides, free meals via gourmet chefs, motorized scooters, prayer rooms, company outings? Larry Page? Employees do, in the form of wage reduction (consumers and stockholders do as well but that’s irrelevant right now). This brings up an interesting paradox between stress caused by the working environment and income levels. Ultimately work will always be stressful. Some days more then others, but that is what makes work fun; the challenge. Interesting post.

  3. According to the article their is a direct correlation between stress and work, and one of the best ways to decrease the stress is by creating a better work environment. As it mentions in the article Google is one of the places that has created a work environment that is more geared towards comfortably than productivity. I have a very close friend who works at Google, and he says the work environment is the main reason that people love their jobs at that company, and the smoothy bar always helps. It makes perfect sense to create a more enjoyable atmosphere at work places as this will help decrease the stress of employees. Everyone works better in a less stressful situations, unless they are a professional athlete. The whole point of my comment is to advocate for a more friendly work environment, as I truly value that part of any job.

    1. According to the article their is a direct correlation between stress and work, and one of the best ways to decrease the stress is by creating a better work environment. As it mentions in the article Google is one of the places that has created a work environment that is more geared towards comfortably than productivity. I have a very close friend who works at Google, and he says the work environment is the main reason that people love their jobs at that company, and the smoothy bar always helps. It makes perfect sense to create a more enjoyable atmosphere at work places as this will help decrease the stress of employees. Everyone works better in a less stressful situations, unless they are a professional athlete. The whole point of my comment is to advocate for a more friendly work environment, as I truly value that part of any job. (Real Comment)

  4. I thought this post was really interesting, especially since we talked a lot about work-life balance in Management 300. While I agree it is important for companies to decrease stress as much as possible, I’m not sure if providing relaxing spaces would be the route I would choose. While Google’s facilities are impressive and really cool, I don’t see how they can help with some of the most stressful aspects of work that were cited in this survey. Low pay and unreasonable workload will not change from being able to go down a giant slide and sit in a relaxation room. If anything, it might give you a bigger workload from the distraction that it causes. I do really like this post though, and I am really curious to see how these strategies have been working for Google and whether or not their employees have attributed it to lower stress levels. Interesting read, thanks for sharing this!

  5. This is a really interesting article. Stress is the biggest factor as to why many employees leave companies and quit their jobs. Stress also is a leading factor for lower work performance. As long as “annoying” co workers are considered, this can lead to the issue of work ethics. In order to manage a healthy work environment, companies should enforce ethics and social responsibility. If co-workers are harassing one another and causing stress in the workplace it could result in lower productivity in the work; costing them time and money. I agree with the fact that companies should work on decreasing stress in the work environment. Google is a great example to show what steps management could take in order to create a stress free environment and keep the employees happy and working productively. I can surely say that stress can cause employers to lose their workers. I work as a sales associate and my pay is completely based on commission, as is my co-workers. If one day it is slow, we pay for that. Even if the weather is bad out and no one is out shopping, it comes out of our pay check. The next time we work we have to make up for the sales we did not make the previous day. You are in deficit and it takes time to come out of it. Hence, it causes a lot of stress for us. Ever since, I have worked there I have seen co-workers quit within months. The amount of workload is too much for what we get paid. Therefore, I completely agree with how that triggers stress. Employers really need to work on the issue of work load and pay if they want to maintain a well work environment.

  6. I found this article very interesting, because I can connect with this issue personally. During my internship I deal a lot with out-processing and join exit interviews. The main reason why people leave the firm is the stress and lack of life-work balance. There is always something new on the plate. People are afraid to take PTO to not miss any deadlines. A lot of companies do try their best to provide the stress free environment, like forcing people to use their PTO hours during a firm shutdown. Google is doing a fantastic job in creating a comfortable environment for their employees.

  7. I found myself wondering what working for Google would be like. There are so many different directions one could point out that would increase the productivity of the employees. The study that Everest College did I think was great, but I am still curious on some of the demographic questions. If you surveyed people from the suburbs I practically guarantee they will say commuting is the largest hassle if they work downtown. Overall I agree with the author that companies should try to offer benefits to their employees to increase quality. My only concern is that some companies may have a hard time finding exactly what their employees want. Most companies probably cannot afford to offer all of the perks Google offers.

  8. I was not surprised at all to see that all but one factor increased in 2013. It is obvious that a lot are worried about getting laid off. Companies are trying to lower the cost of salary by laying off people and giving there employees more work to do. These employees are afraid to say anything because they do not want there employer to think they cannot do the work. I think older workers are more stressed out than people out of college. They know that there are a lot of college graduates that will take anything that they can get and will most likely do the same job for less. I agree that employers should find a way to make the environment more fun. At my place of employment they get really cheap cubs tickets and a lot of us will go to the game and get to interact with people out of the work place.

  9. It’s definitely interesting that more companies are not implementing an approach that is similar to Google’s, especially considering the relationship between stress and a declined quality of work. I think much of it has to do with the company culture. There a lot of leading companies that are mainly concerned with the bottom line rather than the process and their employees. If companies instill the attitude that Google has embraced, then they would see a rise in productivity and overall employee satisfaction.

  10. I think this article is very interesting because stress occurs in everyone’s daily lives. Just recently I started stressing out and that has definitely affected my work performance. Since I noticed that I have been stressed out I have taken specific actions in order to lower my stress. I eat healthier, make time to work out, make sure I get 6-8 hours of sleep each night. I have definitely seen a difference in my energy levels which decreases my stress. I think that individuals need to take on the responsibility to control their stress as much as possible. I do not think that a company has complete responsibility to go out of it’s way to lower stress in the workplace. With the work at both ends I think it would lead to a better work environment.

  11. I am not surprised at all. Personally I can relate to this as well. My quality of work has been effected by the amount of stress I have gone through. This article is very interesting and accurate 100%. It is easy to relate to because stress affects everyone in all industries from top management to lower level employees.

  12. Everyone gets stressed to a certain extent, even kids. Not every company can afford to treat their employees the same way Google does. Google is one of the most profitable organizations in the world to date. People just need to learn to better handle the stresses of everyday life. If you don’t like something about your job, change it. Never be satisfied. If you don’t like your job, either change what you don’t like, or start applying to other places. Once you find a better fit, move on. The only person holding you back is yourself. You can change nearly all the items on that list if you want, people just choose not to.

    At the same time, some of those items cannot be changed. I think the main reason most people feel under-payed is due to the condition of the economy. If our economy was growing, less people would feel under-payed. And because these people feel under-payed, they also feel like they are doing more work than they should be. Both of those factors just go hand-in-hand.

    All in all, people just need to better handle stress and realize they are going to be working for the rest of their lives, so there’s no use in complaining.

    1. I believe you are right about how employees feel that they are underpaid due to the condition of the economy. Whatever needs we have are controlled to what price tag comes with them. People these days with an average starting salary must make decisions with their paycheck. Since the economy is so tight and unpredictable recently, everyone feels that they could use that big financial break. Honestly, how many times have we heard that the American economy is heading towards another recession?

  13. I think it’s pretty interesting that stress has gone up that much in the past year. I would guess, though, that a lot of this stress has to do with factors that are not directly related to the work people are doing at the office. The economy is not picking up the way most people would have expected it to be by now, and after 6 years of frustration, people are probably at their breaking point.

    I understand that you think Google has created a stress free environment for their employee’s, but I think you need to remember that it’s google we are talking about here. Google is one of the biggest corporations, if not the biggest?, in America. Those who work for Google are under stress like most workers wouldn’t even be able to imagine. I’ve read about what they have for employees at their campus, and it always seemed to me that since their employees were under such extreme stress, they had these things to keep their creative levels boosted. Personally, I don’t think the average company needs slides throughout the office.

    I am of the belief that a certain amount of stress helps productivity. Instead of creating a relaxed environment, I think it would be beneficial for companies to, instead, hold workshops and classes teaching employees how to deal with stress. Stress is here to stay, and there’s nothing anybody is going to do about it. This is America, and it’s a grind here. If you don’t like it, I hear Canada is pretty laid back. I think that teaching employees how to deal with their daily stress will prove beneficial for any business’s productivity/output.

  14. I believe that this article hits it on point with how many people in the corporate world are stressed out. I think we as students have a lot of pressure on our shoulders to succeed in today’s society. A bachelor’s degree is not worth the value of what it once was. After the recent recession, the middle-class of America has learned a tough, but valuable lesson. That lesson is that anything can be taken away from you at any time. Witnessing a down-side in American economy, has taught us to battle against eachother, especially in an area such as work. With the way gas and rent prices have been sky-rocketing in recent years, it does not surprise me that people are stressed at work due to their personal budget spending.

    Also, many people may bring personal stress to the job and let that affect their work. It is not uncommon to see a person that is stressed out due to their personal relationships and let that affect them negatively at work. I think everyone wants to enjoy their job, whether or not your stressed outside of it, because you spend so much time on your careers.I feel that it should be a company’s responsibility to improve their own investment, which happens to be their employees. If you invest in a car and put work into it then you can sell it for more. The way you treat and benefit your employees will translate their stress levels and their output of work.

  15. Something I have to invest a majority of my time in had better not be my number one stressor. Approaching graduation, one of my biggest concerns is being stressed in the workplace, everyone wants to enjoy what they do, and with the appropriate environment it can be made possible.

    I absolutely agree that every company should look to Google as an example. The more relaxed your employees are the better quality of work they will do. Companies not investing in a “stress-less” environment are only hurting themselves because long term their employees are not functioning at their full potential.

  16. I am surprised that work-life balance does not have more of an impact on stress. However, I totally understand how commuting to and from work is one of the top stress factors. Being stuck in traffic or taking public transit is always unpleasant especially if you are in a rush. Moreover, I find that Google once again is always on the innovative side of finding new ways to increase employee satisfaction and mitigate a harmful work environment.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *