Work Stress & Health – By The Numbers

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For the last 6 years I worked at the MegaCorp I officially early retired from, I was a Corporate Officer and had the benefit of getting Executive Health benefits.  Since we live in Minnesota, that meant I could go to the Mayo Clinic or a similar program (I usually went to one closer to the office) and be put through a full-day physical once per year.

Mayo is a Minnesota institution and they recently published these health facts on what the “Life of an Executive” means from a health standpoint.  I thought I would share them (and some others I found) here because whether you have an executive role or not, many people have very busy, stressful jobs that leave them at risk for some of the same issues:


  • 6.7 Hours – Average night’s sleep for an executive (24% less than average worker)
  • 11.6 Hours – Average work hours per day (23% more than average worker)
  • 90% – Number of executives that report struggling with work/home balance
  • 48+ Days – Typical amount of business travel each year – studies show that it accelerates aging and increases disease exposure, risk of stroke, and heart disease
  • 7 Days – Number of days lost to work stress a year among large-company employees
  • 60% – Employees who say they don’t have enough time to do their job well (WHO)


  • 73% – Of Executives have a sedentary lifestyle, not getting enough daily exercise
  • 40% – Percent of CEOs are obese; 90% are considered overweight
  • +12% – Risk of early death from sleep deprivation (WebMD)
  • +60% – Higher risk of heart disease among those working > 10 hours/day (KSU)
  • 40% – Percent of Executives that suffer from depression (2x general public)
  • 46% – Frequently suffer from insomnia as a result of work stress (APA)
  • +45% – Increased risk of development of Type 2 Diabetes from job stress
  • 50% – Greater health care costs carried by people with stressful jobs (CDC)
  • 25% – Reported snapping at a coworker because of work stress (APA)
  • 80% – Heart attack victims who might have passed a stress test the day before (JPM)

To help combat these health impacts, the Mayo Clinic recommends that Executives take “fitness breaks” throughout the day.  Even 10 minutes away from the desk and taking a brisk walk can be helpful.  Additionally, if you are working too hard or feeling too much stress, talk to your manager about your workload.  Oftentimes, even a very caring managers may not be completely aware of how much burden their employees are carrying or don’t see the combination of work and home stresses.

Here are the top 6 ways people say they deal with stress (from the APA):

  • 46% – Listening to music
  • 43% – Exercising or walking
  • 40% – Surfing the internet/going online
  • 39% – Watching TV or movies for more than 2 hours
  • 35% – Reading books or magazines
  • 35% – Spending time with family

Sorry for the depressing topic on a Monday morning, but as they say – knowing the problems gets you more than halfway to solving it.  Late last year I wrote about how most of my gray hair went away after retiring 9 months earlier.  While I never considered myself overly stressed – it was a visible sign of how much stress I was carrying around.

 What solutions have you developed to deal with work stress and how effective have they been?

Image Credit: Pixabay

WHO = World Health Organization; JPM = Journal of Psychosomatic Medicine; CDC = Center for Disease Control; KSU = Kansas State University Study; APA = American Psychological Association

10 thoughts on “Work Stress & Health – By The Numbers

  1. I’m FIREd so I don’t have work stress anymore. But in my last megacorp job, there was a nice, onsite, commercial-sized gym. I went everyday at lunch and it made a huge difference to my quality of life.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We had a gym, too – but I never got in the swing of working out at work. A lot of people did – including our COO, who I saw heading in the door oftentimes.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I missed your post about your hair turning less gray. Amazing. I try and take small breaks during my workday. Just stepping away for a 5-10 minute walk is a great refresher. Also allowing things to wait until Monday. It’s a fine line, but you have to find the balance of the things that need immediate attention and that can wait.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes – balance is right. Someone said you can’t let the tyranny of the urgent trump the importance of the long term.


  3. Well, Chief, my single biggest solution was to stop working in NYC. In addition to all the sobering problems in your post was my single biggest stressor: a four-hour daily commute, including six separate trains to ride (with no shock absorbers or decent air quality), changing through Grand Central (which compresses 750,000 travelers a day). How I ever did that for forty years is beyond me. Now I’m beyond that and breathing easy.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I was always SHOCKED when you would tell me how long it would take to get to/from work. On top of that, you had to work with idiot clients like me!!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I have told my teacher friends, “You don’t realize how exhausted you are until you’re NOT.” I cannot believe the stress I was under as a teacher – how I worried about my kids, how I burned the candle at both ends, how I juggled a thousand tasks at once. Now I realize that we are slowly killing our best teachers!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Those that are best at their jobs – regardless of profession – are the ones who probably worry about it the most. Too bad that the best among us carry the greatest stress & burden.

      Liked by 1 person

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