U.S. employees are among the most stressed in the world

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Some U.S. employees may not be surprised to find that they are among the most stressed in the world, according to a Gallup’s State of the Workplace Report.

Although stress levels increased generally in employees across the world, the U.S. and Canadian workforces experienced the highest levels of daily stress globally in 2020. Employees in these countries reported stress levels of 57%, while in Western Europe, stress declined to 39% from 46% in 2019.

Pandemic-induced stress also weighed heavily on women, with stress levels for employed women in the U.S. and Canada, 62%, outweighing the stress levels for men by 10 percentage points. Stress levels for these women jumped about 10 percentage points from 2019 to 2020, as the pandemic hit the economy.

The report reveals that employees across the world had more negative feelings last year than in years past. Gallup measured worry, stress, anger, and sadness among employees and found that in 2020 these feelings increased substantially in employees compared to previous years.

Along with negative feelings, Gallup found employees felt less respected in 2020 than in previous years. Globally, 14% of employees felt they were not treated with respect in and outside of the workplace during the entire previous day in which the question was posed.

Despite the high levels of stress in U.S. workers, in 2020 employee engagement increased in the country. A decade of steadily rising engagement levels continued despite the pandemic, with 36% of employees in the U.S. feeling engaged at work last year, in contrast to the 20% globally that feel the same way.

The COVID-19 pandemic pushed stress levels higher for people in North America as many people were either furloughed, laid off, or dealt with changing work conditions and requirements. Some have even had to push back retirement as savings were spent on necessities las year.

In its report, Gallup found that due to the pandemic 38% of people in the U.S. and Canada had temporarily stopped working at their job or business, 40% had worked less hours than before COVID, and a third received less money from their employer or business.

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