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Study: U.S. workers and employers suffer ill-effects of workplace stress

While most workers in the United States would likely admit to wanting a healthy work and life balance, few appear to successfully achieving anything close to it. Today, U.S. workers are spending more time at work and working than ever before with a 2014 Gallup poll showing that, for many workers, the standard 40-hour workweek has now stretched to nearly 50 hours.

The results of a recent study, point to the adverse physical and mental side effects that workers are increasingly experiencing due to longer work days and weeks. The study was conducted by researchers from Harvard and Stanford Universities who determined that "workplace stress is about as dangerous to one's health as secondhand smoke."

More than 60 percent of U.S. workers report to experiencing work-related stress and the negative effects of all this stress are significant and associated with increased rates of depression, heart disease, obesity and insomnia. It's no wonder, therefore, that primary care doctors report that a whopping 90 percent of the patients they see suffer mental and physical health conditions that are related to too much stress in their lives.

A stressed out workforce also has significant implications for employers and their bottom lines as stress has been linked to diminished work performance, missed work hours, pessimistic attitudes and increased healthcare costs. While some employers are taking steps to provide workers with more flexible work hours and options, the majority are towing the line and forcing workers to sit and stare at their computer screens for 10 to 11 hours per day.

Workers who develop stress-related physical or mental health problems as a result of a stressful work environment may be able to recover workers' compensation benefits. However, stress-related claims are often disputed and rejected by employers and insurance companies. It's wise, therefore, to contact an attorney who can assist in helping a worker obtain the maximum amount of benefits to which he or she is entitled.

Source: Today, "Study says workplace stress is as bad as secondhand smoke: Tips on how to cope," Jordi Lippe, Sept. 10, 2015

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