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Over 27% of Swiss workers are stressed

When it comes to stress, gender plays less of a role than the number of working hours, found the Job Stress Index. racorn / 123rf.com

Workplace stress in Switzerland is on the rise, particularly among younger workers – who often show up feeling unwell. The consequences are costly. 

This content was published on October 10, 2018 - 15:34
Susan Misicka and Kai Reusser

The “Job Stress Index” – published by Health Promotion SwitzerlandExternal link on the eve of World Mental Health DayExternal link – has found that stress levels at work continue their upward trend. 

The index shows “critical” workplace stress levels rising from 25.4% in 2016 to 27.1% in 2017; “critical” meaning that the workload is too large for the number of people available to handle it. What’s more, nearly 30% of those surveyed said that they felt emotionally exhausted. 

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Health Promotion Switzerland calculates that job-related stress results in a loss of productivity worth about CHF6.5 billion ($6.6 billion) per year – the equivalent of about 1% of Switzerland’s gross domestic product. And among workers aged 16-24, absenteeism and presenteeism – reporting for work despite illness – account for 21% of worktime. 

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“Interestingly, absenteeism is more frequently discussed, although presenteeism accounts for a much higher proportion of productivity losses,” noted the report published on TuesdayExternal link

In addition to a worker’s age, a higher level of education also seems to translate into a lower level of stress. Workers with tertiary degrees accounted for lower losses of productivity than those who had done apprenticeships. 

The link between workplace stress and loss of productivity “should also be considered in the political discussion around creating more flexible working hours,” says Thomas Mattig, director of Health Promotion Switzerland. 

Prepared together with the University of Bern, the Zurich University of Applied Sciences, and the Winterthur Institute of Health Economics, the index was based on a spring 2018 survey of nearly 3,000 workers aged 16-65, who completed the Friendly Work Space Job-Stress-AnalysisExternal link

‘How are you?’ campaign

According to the Pro Mente SanaExternal link association, people in Switzerland see work-related stress as the main cause of mental suffering. The 2014 campaign “How are you?” – re-launched on World Mental Health Day – encourages people to talk about stress more openly.

“The fear of being seen as unproductive makes this open approach difficult for someone with impaired mental health,” noted Pro Mente Sana in a statement on WednesdayExternal link.

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