How Employees Deal with Stress at Work

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The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of Employee Hacks and Habits

The American workplace is increasingly creeping into every facet of employee’s lives, which makes it nearly impossible to decompress everyday. Because of the increased demands on time, employees become distracted and have turned to using hacks to cope with stress.

Bridge by Instructure conducted a survey of more than 1,000 office employees across the country to assess their habits in the workplace.

Distracted Working Can Be Costly

  • Employees spend up to 77 minutes per day watching non-work-related TV or online videos while at work.
two clocks showing the 77 minutes non work related tv or videos watched by employees
  • This results in companies losing more than $8,800 per year per employee.
Calendar year pages with -$733.33 on each page representing lost revenue per employee
  • This could cost a company with 5,000 employees as much as $44 million per year.
employee cost times 5000 equals as much as 44 million dollars

Vicious Cycle: Many Companies Create a Culture of Busyness and Burnout

Though employees are distracted at work, their company culture often doesn’t encourage an adequate work-life balance to help them unwind.

  • Only ⅓ of respondents are encouraged by their employer to take PTO.
1 of 3 pairs of glasses highlighted to show that one third of respondants are encouraged to take PTO
  • Only 11% are encouraged to take mental health days.
11% of a human brain highlighted to show the percentage encouraged to take mental health days
  • 78% said working more was an important factor in being promoted.
Bar graph showing 78% believed working more was important factor in being promoted
  • ½ stated that socializing outside of work was also a factor in being promoted.
1 of 2 ramen bowls highlighted to social one half believed socializing outside of work was a factor in being promoted
  • 53% said that engaging in workplace politics was a moderately important factor in being promoted.
53% of two clasped hands highlighted to show the percent that felt engaging in workplace politics was moderately important

Employee Engagement Is a Problem

Today’s employees are overworked, overstressed, and under-rested. Many experience an element of burnout or disengagement with their work as a result. Our results unveil an opportunity for companies to improve career paths and identify areas for growth.

  • 45% are somewhat satisfied with their current role.
Pie chart showing 45% say they are somewhat satisfied with their current role
  • 44% are somewhat satisfied with their current job in comparison to opportunities available at their company.
Bar Graph showing 44% are somewhat satisfied with their job in comparison to what other opportunities are available at their company
  • 25% have 1:1 meetings with their manager bi-annually or less.
1 of 4 people highlighted to show the 25% that have 1 on 1's with their manager biannually or less

Employees Develop Bad Habits to Deal with Stress

Employees may turn to substances as part of the way they manage stressors in the office.

Warm cup of coffee
  • 34% of respondents said their job has increased reliance on caffeine.
Two pieces of candy
  • 9% said they increased their sugar intake.
Two pills outside of a prescription bottle
  • 7% stated they rely on anti-anxiety medication.

Good Coping Mechanisms

Many employees have adopted healthier alternatives to deal with work-related stress.

Person doing a yoga pose
  • 30% use yoga, excercise, or meditation to relieve stress.
Laptop with the moon and a cloud on the screen
  • 44% leave their computers at work during non-work hours.
A smartphone with a tablet
  • 21% leave their work device in another room.

How Can We Help Employees?

Companies can help their employees become less distracted and more productive, less reliant on unhealthy substances, and more able to disconnect by creating a culture that encourages a work-life balance.

As a company, you can improve communication by having frequent 1:1 meetings with employees to help them map out their career aspirations, which will improve employee satisfaction and engagement. Creating a culture where your people aren’t dealing with excessive stress and have opportunities to unplug will improve employee well-being, and eliminate potential revenue losses by ensuring employees are ready to focus when it’s time to work.

Bridge is changing the way employees and managers interact, with the goal of strengthening relationships, improving engagement, and helping innovative HR teams foster a happier, healthier, more productive workplace.

Bridge by Instructure used online survey provider Qualtrics to survey more than 1,000 office employees at U.S.-based companies with more than 250 employees regarding their thoughts on their workplace habits, workplace culture and overall employee engagement.

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3 pieces of talent data you aren’t tracking

(but really need to)


How can you drive improvement and identify red flags before they become five-alarm fires?

Keep close tabs on these 3 tidbits of talent data:

#1: Peer assessments

Yes, what other people think matters

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Is your team underperforming or excelling in key job skills? Peers are your eyes and ears, and can provide valuable insight into what’s really going on with your team. Empower them to conduct peer assessments so you’ll know exactly where workers stand (and where they need a little support).

Learner Performance feature

#2: 1:1 Frequency

More is more when it comes to employee check-ins

No more annual reviews

So much happens between annual reviews, so it’s no surprise more companies are using monthly check-ins instead — and reaping the rewards of a more engaged workforce. A human capital management solution like Bridge Perform makes it easy for managers and leaders to better manage their monthly or weekly 1:1s, so meetings (and morale) don’t slip.

Goal performance feature

#3: Link between employee and company goals:

Connect the dots, for the win

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Successful organizations not only align individual performance goals to the company mission, they make it easy for employees and managers to see the big picture. Regularly show (and tell) workers how their efforts impact the overall success and vision of the company.

Timeline feature

Make talent easier to manage by tracking (and reacting to) the metrics that really matter — like all the above and then some.

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