Various studies have shown that employee stress adversely affects job performance. Stress has also been found to increase a variety of physical and mental health problems. A University of Maryland Medical Center study revealed that stress increases the risk of elevated heart rate, high blood pressure, immune system issues, anxiety, and mental illness. Both poor job performance and health problems arising from stress negatively affect a company’s bottom line.

So who are the most stressed workers in the U.S.? If stressed workers could be easily identified, then the problem of stress could be more readily addressed. However, a large number of variables exist when it comes to determining which workers are stressed, especially since individuals handle stress differently or consider certain tasks more or less stressful than others doing the same activity.

Also see:The No. 1 reason financial wellness programs work.

Some people thrive under the pressure of corporate management, while others avoid that same pressure at all costs. On the other hand, jobs that are low-key and monotonous, such as assembly line positions in a factory, would cause high-energy people more stress than taking on corporate challenges. The environment also plays a key role in stress. For example, a policeman patrolling the slums of New York City is going to be under a greater degree of stress than one serving in Small Town, Minn.

A challenging position
There is, however, a common thread that runs throughout the studies that are seeking to determine the most stressed workers in America. The UMMC study found that financial concerns, including job loss, were the major factors in producing stress in employees overall.

Employers are in a challenging position when it comes to effectively handling stress experienced by their employees. They require a workforce that performs at a high level, yet the challenges of poor financial education and decisions produce stress that is distracting and directly affects employee performance. Employers can directly increase their bottom line through the provision of financial education and assistance programs for their employees.

Also see:Foundering in debt, Americans need workplace financial education.”

As workers gain financial stability via reduced indebtedness and increased retirement savings, they will perform better on the job, take less time away from their duties, and realize better physical and mental health. Companies receive more return for wages, see production levels increase, and reduce healthcare and associated costs.

Without dealing with the real issues that workers face through a lack of financial literacy, employers cannot hope to achieve the desired outcomes that employee education and communication programs are designed to provide.

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Mark Singer

Mark Singer

Singer, CFP, is the author of three books, a frequent public speaker and the creator of The Financial Literacy Toolbox.