How many laid-back workers are there, and how many are weighted down by stress? According to a study involving nearly 2,500 employed adults, more than two-thirds are stressed out, while just 5 percent are chill most of the time.

That's what a survey by ComPsych reports. The surveying company is a provider of employee assistance programs. Its records show that on-the-job stress is among the top reasons that employees access EAP services. So, it decided to look more closely at the toll taken by stress at work. Here's what the survey showed:

  • Twice as many employees (64 percent) reported crippling levels of stress as those who said they suffered from stress but could handle it (31 percent). The other 5 percent reported no stress on the job.
  • Thirty-five percent said they lost an hour or more of work time to stress every day. More than four in 10 said they lost 15-30 minutes of productive work time a day due to stress. About a quarter said stress did not take a toll on their hours of work.
  • Nearly half said that, at least one day a year and as many as four, they are at work but are too stressed out to be productive. Almost three in 10 put that number at five days or more a year. The rest — 25 percent — said stress never robbed them of a productive day on the job.

Lack of sleep, lack of interest in working out, and weight gain were the top three stress-related side effects reported by the group.

ComPsych said employers can help relieve their workers' stress through well-designed EAPs and wellness programs.

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Dan Cook

Dan Cook is a journalist and communications consultant based in Portland, OR. During his journalism career he has been a reporter and editor for a variety of media companies, including American Lawyer Media, BusinessWeek, Newhouse Newspapers, Knight-Ridder, Time Inc., and Reuters. He specializes in health care and insurance related coverage for BenefitsPRO.