Long hours, tight deadlines, even workplace bullying — if you've been going to work lately with a pit in your stomach, then you're not alone.
A new survey on working conditions found that most Americans are feeling physically and emotionally taxed by their jobs. Most surprising of the findings, which were just released by the Rand Corporation, Harvard Medical School and UCLA, was that more than half of people say that they work in "unpleasant and potentially hazardous" working conditions. Some examples:
- Overworking: More than a quarter of Americans say they don't have enough time to do their jobs, and half say they work on their personal time in order to meet demands. Three-fourths also say their jobs require intense or repetitive physical exertion at least 25% of the time.
- Little advancement: Only 38% say their jobs offer good opportunities to move up.
- Workplace abuse: A "disturbingly high" figure — almost one in five Americans — say they experience a hostile work environment, according to the study. This could include verbal abuse, sexual harassment, threats and other forms of humiliating behaviors.
So things are a bit stressful right now for the American worker, according to the researchers, who interviewed more than 3,000 people in both white- and blue-collar jobs. But that doesn't mean the study turned up all bad news. Among the positive highlights:
- Supportive colleagues: 58% say they have supportive bosses and 56% percent say they have good friends at work.
- Meaningful work: Four out of five Americans say their jobs provide meaning always or most of the time.
- Creativity: About 84% and 85% of workers say they learn new things or can apply their own ideas on the job, respectively.
The study provides some interesting findings considering that America recently saw it's number of job openings reach a record high: 6.2 million. If there are that many unhappy workers, they're probably trying to nab some of those new openings. Of course, that doesn't mean your perfect job will just land on your doorstep — some industries can drag their workers through the interview process for almost two months.
So if you have to make the best of your current job, here are some ways to help you cope better with stress at work.
Take care of yourself physically. Staying hunched over a computer all day only adds to the tension. Do some simple exercises and stretches during work breaks to help keep back and neck pain at bay. Here are five moves you can do right at your desk.
Have a plan for dealing with toxic coworkers. There will always be difficult personalities at work that you just can't avoid. Figure out which type of toxic coworker is making you roll your eyes the hardest — then use these tips to help keep their behaviors in check.
Learn to love your job again. If you've been in your role for a while, it can be easy to fall into the doldrums. So exercise some mind over matter and start practicing positivity. This advice will help you learn to reboot your attitude so you can get through the next week, month or even year.