For a glimpse of how job stress can harm workers, talk to employee assistance providers.
These are companies that offer services to employees such as financial advice, substance-abuse help and short-term counseling. In effect, EAPs are first responders, handling casualties of the so-called “work-more economy,” as workers take on extra responsibilities and in some cases perform two jobs for the price of one.
Harris, Rothenberg International Inc., an EAP provider based in New York City, saw a dramatic jump in the number of calls from employees in 2011 compared with 2010.
“We’ve seen a fairly significant spike in workplace anxiety and stress,” says Randy Martin, director of clinical services for Harris, Rothenberg International. “People are working longer hours. They are grieving colleagues who have lost their jobs. They’re coming in earlier and staying later. They don’t feel any sense of job security, and that cascades into marital problems, not spending enough time with their kids. For others it means excessive shopping, gambling or using alcohol and drugs.”