The perceived need to play office politics to get ahead is – not surprisingly – causing work-related stress, and employees are coping in a variety of healthy and unhealthy ways, according to a survey of more than 1,000 office employees by Bridge by Instructure Inc.

Unspoken pressure is the main culprit: 78 percent of respondents believe working more hours is at least moderately important in getting promoted, and over half of employees believe engaging in workplace politics is the key. In fact, 43 percent say that acting interested in the "boss's dumb story" is at least moderately important.

Unwritten policies are another factor causing employee burnout. Only one-third of respondents are encouraged by their employer to take paid time off, and only 11 percent are encouraged to take mental health days as a way to use sick time. 

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Katie Kuehner-Hebert

Katie Kuehner-Hebert is a freelance writer based in Running Springs, Calif. She has more than three decades of journalism experience, with particular expertise in employee benefits and other human resource topics.