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Work Anxiety Is Keeping Americans Awake at Night

Is your company causing sleepless nights for employees? New research suggests the answer may be yes.

Source: RJohn97 / iStock / Getty


A survey conducted by global staffing firm Accountemps finds that more than four in 10 professionals (44 percent) often lose sleep over work. Common causes of restlessness include an overwhelming workload, a looming business problem, and strained coworker relationships.
The survey, developed by Accountemps and conducted by an independent research firm, includes responses from more than 2,800 workers across 28 major U.S. cities.

What’s the Frequency

Workers were asked, “How often do you lose sleep over work?” Their responses show, that for some people, there is a pattern.

  • Very often, 15 percent
  • Somewhat often, 29 percent
  • Not very often, 43 percent
  • Never, 13 percent

What’s the Problem

Among those who lose sleep over work, the following are cited as root causes. (Multiple responses were allowed.)

  • Overwhelmed with work volume/hours, 50 percent
  • Can’t get a business problem out of my head, 48 percent
  • Strained coworker relationships, 20 percent
  • Worried I may lose my job, 18 percent
  • My boss is a nightmare, 16 percent
  • Other, 7 percent

Additional Findings

The survey also finds patterns with regard to location, age, and gender.

  • Professionals in Miami, Nashville, and New York most often lose sleep over work-related issues.
  • Cleveland, Philadelphia, and Minneapolis have the highest percentage of respondents who indicate they never miss out on rest.
  • Professionals ages 18 to 34 more often lose sleep over work (57 percent) compared to those ages 35 to 54 (45 percent) and 55 and older (29 percent).
  • Male respondents say they lie awake often (50 percent), while women are slightly less likely to (40 percent).

Advice for Workers and Managers

“Work stressors can often follow you home, but try to check them at the door,” says Michael Steinitz, executive director of Accountemps. “If you have too much on your plate, schedule time with your manager to discuss possible solutions to alleviate the pressure, such as delegating work to others, adjusting deadlines or bringing in temporary help.”
Steinitz also points to the link between work anxiety and job satisfaction.
“Employee stress can lead to lower job satisfaction and engagement and higher turnover. Managers can support their teams by maintaining open lines of communication and planning regular check-ins to discuss workload and other worries,” he says.