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A recent multi-generational survey of 2,000 full-time employees found some interesting pieces of information about the consumer health mindset. Specifically, the survey suggests that Americans have similar wellbeing priorities, but the causes and impact of these priorities vary by age, income, household composition, and location. While the research report is full of insightful data, the information about causes of stress were the most interesting. With 92% of respondents experiencing stress in their lives, employers would be wise to take the data on sources of stress seriously.

Primary Causes

Across all generations (baby boomers, Generation Xers, and millennials), the primary causes of stress are work and finances. As evidenced by the chart below, difference between these two stressors and others is quite large. One interesting observation was the relationship age had on stress from finances. Younger employees are more likely to cite finances as a cause of stress with the majority of millennials (66%) feeling stress from this source.

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Aspects Of Life Impacted By Stress

Stress impacts employees in multiple ways. The survey also sought to analyze how employees were being effected across generations. Stress had the greatest impact on how baby boomers and Generation Xers slept while millennials felt stress most disrupted their emotional state. All three generations felt impacts on energy levels, just lower than sleep and emotional state. In regard to gender differences, sleep, emotional state, and energy levels ranked first, second, and third, respectively. Females did cite more impact on their emotional state and energy levels than males.
 
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From sleep impacting employee immune systems to increasing the risk of weight gain and chronic diseases, the need for employers to help employees manage stress cannot be stressed (no pun intended) enough. There are a number of ways employers can help employees manage their stress, and the best solution depends on the employers and demographics of the employee population. At the very least, employers should recognize that work is the number one driver of stress, and as such, one of the most affordable ways to manage that source is by creating policies that put employees at ease. For example, having rules or expectations about after hour emails is a great way to help employees disconnect. 

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