An Alarming Amount Of People Find Their Workplace Stressful And Hostile


Stressed woman


 Maricar Santos via Working Mother
Maricar Santos via Working Mother
April 12, 2024 at 11:24PM UTC
If you happen to work in a happy, supportive workplace with kind people, consider yourself lucky, because that's not the reality for a significant chunk of workers in the U.S. According to a new study, many people consider their place of work to be grueling, stressful and hostile.
The study, which was conducted by RAND Corporation, Harvard Medical School and the University of California, Los Angeles, and surveyed 3,066 adults in the U.S., found that over 50 percent of Americans report being exposed to unpleasant and hazardous working conditions. Among this 50 percent, one-fifth, which researchers say is a "disturbingly high" fraction, report that their workplace is hostile or threatening. The type of hostility seems to vary by gender and age, with younger and prime-aged women more likely to encounter unwanted sexual attention, and younger men more likely to deal with verbal abuse.
The findings also revealed that many Americans seem to feel like their job is too demanding, both physically and mentally. One in four Americans reports not having enough time to do their work, and almost three-fourths say they deal with intense or repetitive physical exertion in the workplace at least 25 percent of the time.
The lack of work-life balance and flex seemed to be problematic too. About 50 percent say that their jobs often seep into their personal lives, leading them to do some work in their free time so they can get everything done. As for telecommuting, it looks like the U.S. workplace still has a long way to go, since 78 percent of workers say they're expected to show up to their office during regular business hours.
Remaining employed didn't seem to be a problem for the majority of participants, with eight in 10 American workers reporting having steady and predictable work during the year, and 54 percent working the same number of hours per day. Still, some participants (one-third) seem to be at the whim of their employers when it comes to scheduling, reporting they have no control over their hours. Meanwhile, more than half say they work more than they'd like per week, compared to just 20 percent who say they'd like to work more hours.
To top it all off, just 38 percent of workers say their job provides them with good opportunities to move up. And despite education level, ALL workers are less optimistic about ascending the career ladder the older they get.
Though the study revealed many not-so-great things about the state of the American workplace, there were some positive findings too. Americans feel pretty good about their abilities and their relationships at work, with most reporting having confidence in their abilities, 58 percent saying their bosses are supportive and 56 percent reporting having good work friends, as reported by CNBC. Another positive finding: Over 80 percent report being able to be problem-solvers at work and testing out their own ideas.
Regarding the takeaway of the findings, lead study author Nicole Maestas, a Harvard Medical School economist, told the Associated Press, "There's a message for employers here. Working conditions really do matter."
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