NU Online News Service, April 28, 2005, 4:15 p.m. EDT

Off-the-job life may be gaining on work as a source of worker stress.[@@]

Researchers at ComPsych Corp., Chicago, have published data supporting that conclusion in a report on the employee assistance firm’s new StressPulse survey series.

When researchers polled workers at 1,000 ComPsych client companies in January and February, they found that 69% said they felt “high levels of stress, with extreme fatigue/feeling out of control.” The percentage was up 2 percentage points from the comparable total for the second half of 2004.

But the percentage who attributed their stress to “people issues” increased 3 percentage points, to 34%, while the percentage who cited workload held steady at 40%, and the percentage who cited the need to juggle work and personal life held steady at 21%.

Although 54% of the survey participants identified “accomplishing basic responsibilities” as their top work priority, and only 22% said improving performance was the most important work priority, the percentage preoccupied with accomplish basic responsibilities fell 6 points, and the percentage comfortable enough to focus on improving performance increased 6 points, according to ComPsych researchers.

Only 35% of the survey participants said medical problems are the most common reasons for absences: 51% said stress and personal relationship issues are the most common reasons for absences.