A Shockingly High Number of Americans Say Their Workplaces Are Awful

Shot of a businesswoman looking stressed at her desk
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A new study by the behemoth research firm RAND Corporation says that you’re probably overworked and stressed out.

Tell us something we don’t know, RAND.

Still, the American Working Conditions Survey, an analysis of more than 2,000 U.S. workers, does provide a new, comprehensive look at the dire conditions of current work culture in this country. (As depressing as it is.)

Specifically, two-thirds of those surveyed said they work in high-paced environments with tight deadlines, and 27% of workers said they don’t have enough time to finish their assignments at the office.

Nearly one-fourth of Americans are working more than 48 hours a week, according to the study, and half said they have to work in their free time.

Even as companies expect workers to finish projects on their own time, more than 35% of employees surveyed said they have no flexibility in setting their actual work schedule. Way to not return the favor, boss.

A little more than 19% of people said they work in a hostile office environment. That includes sexual harassment or bullying, verbal abuse and humiliation. Two percent of workers said they’d actually experienced physical abuse in the last month at work.

And on and on and on the study goes, down a rabbit hole of soul-sucking statistics about the American workplace.

“I was surprised how taxing the workplace appears to be, both for less-educated and for more-educated workers,” said adjunct RAND economist Nicole Maestas, the lead author of the study, in a news release. “Work is taxing at the office and it’s taxing when it spills out of the workplace into people’s family lives.”

I mean, Americans reportedly take an average of four days off work each year just to catch up on sleep.

Not a good look, employers.

But you don’t have to get caught up in the pressure, anxiety and drama at the office.

You Don’t Have to Give Into Workplace Anxiety and Stress

When long newspaper production days used to work me into anxiety attacks, I had a particularly well-balanced colleague who used to tell me: “Remember, when it comes down to it, nothing really matters anyway. So just, like, don’t care.”

Philosopher and business consultant Andrew Taggart agrees… sort of. The key is not apathy, but letting go of the pressure that how happy you are is tied to how successful you are on the job.

“By caring about work a little less, we can afford ourselves experiences of what is truly meaningful, and let us rest for a while in the unfolding present, Taggart says.

But what if you want something you can do right now to tackle those stressors?

There Are Plenty of Ways to Decompress Your Work Stress

Mindfulness is a proven strategy for escaping work stressors. Here at The Penny Hoarder, we have 20 minutes a day set aside for just that.

In only five steps, you could be on the way to a clearer and less stressed mind.

But If you’re like me, and have trouble silencing the hordes of screaming voices of anxiety in your head, there are other ways to tackle work stress besides training your mind (though it has really helped me).

Exercise is a great way to release endorphins and take your brain out of the equation. If I don’t get an hour at the gym before work, my anxiety is through the roof for the whole day.

And you can find your iron dojo for pretty cheap.

Put down the beer, and opt for a bath or nap instead. That “me” time is important.

And please for the sake of all that is holy, take a dang vacation. And unplug while you’re at it.

Alex Mahadevan is a data journalist at The Penny Hoarder. Mindfulness training has helped untangle his high-strung ball of anxiety… a bit.

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