A new survey from management consulting firm Korn Ferry shows stress at work is increasing, with nearly two-thirds (65%) of respondents saying that compared to five years ago, their level of stress at work today is higher.

More than three-quarters (76%) of respondents say stress at work has had a negative impact on their personal relationships, and 66% say they have lost sleep due to work stressors.

In addition, 16% say they’ve had to quit a job due to stress.

Stress Triggers

The survey also points to stress triggers. The largest percentage of respondents (35%) say their boss is their biggest stressor at work, and more than three-quarters (80%) say a change in organizational leadership (for example, a new boss or division head) has an impact on their stress level.

“There are many factors that cause increased stress levels at work, including keeping up with changes in technology, increased workloads, and interpersonal conflict,” said Korn Ferry senior partner and global head of Leadership Development Solutions Dennis Baltzley in a statement.

“Obviously the capacity to deal with stress will vary from individual to individual, but organizations can take steps to help mitigate stress, such as offering training on new technologies and development for managers on how best to lead.”

To Much to Do, or Too Little—Which Is More Stressful?

The survey also found that a heavy workload is less stressful than looking for something to do. More than three-quarters (79%) of respondents said not having enough work is more stressful than having too much work.

When considering balancing work and pay, nearly three-quarters (74%) say they would prefer more work but more compensation to less work and less compensation.

“There is the old adage that if you want something done, ask a busy person,” said Baltzley.

“And while most professionals thrive on rewarding and challenging tasks, it’s critical that they have work/life balance to stay healthy and productive. Employers should be mindful of creating a work environment that offers employees clear, attainable goals.”

When it comes to talking about what is stressing them out at work, the professionals were split, with 47% saying they would confide in a coworker, and 53% saying they would not.


About the Survey: The survey was conducted in October 2018 and had 1,951 responses. Due to rounding, percentages may not equal 100%.