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Client references

For years, organizations and researchers have explored the effects of stress in the workplace.
This general reference list provides some information you can use to understand workplace stress and the role it plays in organizations. You'll also find links to several infographics and key statistics.

What You Believe, You Will Achieve, an article by Carl Nielson on beliefs, attitudes and the connection to stress.

Watch this video on workplace stress and the Stress Quotient.

The Nielson Group offers a workplace stress diagnostic assessment called Stress Quotient by TTI Success Insights To learn more, complete the information request form.

  • Individuals
  • Teams
  • Organization-wide
  • Human Resources
  • Executive teams
  • Cross-functional project teams

Any job can have stressful elements, even if you love what you do. Some stress at work is normal and actually contributes to high performance, however excessive stress can obstruct individual and team productivity and performance. Each person's ability to deal with it can mean the difference between success and failure.

There are situations employees can't control in their work environment, but that doesn't mean you're powerless—even when you're stuck in a problematic situation. Finding ways to manage stress isn't about making huge changes or rethinking career ambitions, but rather about focusing on the things that are within your control.

The concept of stress at work is often confused with a challenge, but these concepts are not the same. Being challenged can energize us psychologically and physically, and it can motivate us to learn new skills and leads to mastery of our jobs. When a challenge is met, we feel energized and satisfied. Thus, challenge is an important ingredient to be healthy and productive at work.

A healthy work environment is one where the pressures on employees are relevant to their abilities and resources, to the amount of control they have over their work, and the support they receive.

The TTI Success Insights Workplace Stress report examines seven dimensions or sources of possible stress. These include Demands, Effort/Reward Balance, Control, Organizational Change, Manager/Supervisor, Social Support, Job Security and a Total Stress Index.

Stress Index Summary
This summary page shows your stress in the seven sections listed above on a 100-point scale. To help you understand your level of stress, the report breaks the stress into five levels: little or no stress, limited stress, elevated stress, significant stress, severe stress.

Stress Factors
Next, the report takes the seven stress factors and dissects them based on subcategories. These factors are displayed in dials on the same 100-point scale. The top dial is the overall category, and the dials below are the breakdown of more specific stress. The sub dials do not add up to the top dial and are not an average. Rather, they are based on how you responded to specific questions. Each Stress Factor page provides both a definition and accompanying questions related to that factor and the respondent's scores.


Organizational stress can have a profound effect on productivity and engagement in the workplace. Worrying about job security, lack of control or the demands of a heavy workload can increase stress levels and cause a variety of emotional and physical symptoms. When stress factors are coupled together, stress can become a problem that extends to the entire department or company. Identifying stress factors within the organization is the first step in designing a strategy to address the issue.

In the Workplace Stress Group Report, each section illustrates where stress is occurring within the organization.

Group Stress Index Summary
The Index Summary is two pages showing stress in seven categories on stacked bar graphs including a percentage distribution chart. To help you understand the intensity of stress in each category, we have divided it into five levels: little or no stress, limited stress, elevated stress, significant stress, severe stress.

Group Stress Factors
Each stress factor is then dissected into subcategories and displayed as stacked bar graphs. The
top stacked bar graph is the overall category, and the stacked bar graphs displayed below include
a breakdown of more specific stress.

Group Summary
In this section you will find a group plot graphic and group stress heat map. These graphics allow you to see where there could be potential problem areas.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, now more than ever before, job stress poses a threat to the health of workers and, in turn, to the health of organizations. (Centers for Disease Control + Prevention)

One-fourth of employees view their jobs as the number one stress point in their lives. (Centers for Disease Control + Prevention)

40% of workers claim their job is very or extremely stressful (Northwestern Mutual Life)

From the American Psychological Association, Stress in America Report 2012

  • Forty-three percent of American adults report that stress has caused them to lie awake at night in the past month.
  • Forty-two percent of adults report that their stress level has increased, and 36 percent say their stress level has stayed the same over the past five years.
  • Sixty-one percent of adults say that managing stress is extremely or very important, but only 35 percent say they are doing an excellent or very good job at it.
  • Forty-four percent of adults say they are not doing enough or are not sure whether they are doing
    enough to manage their stress, but 19 percent say they never engage in stress management activities.
  • Money (71 percent), work (69 percent) and the economy (59 percent) continue to be the most
    commonly reportedsources of stress.

How to Be Good at Stress, article by Kelly McGonigal at

What You Believe, You Will Achieve, an article by Carl Nielson on beliefs, attitudes and the connection to stress.

Stress at Work: Facts + Figures by the European Agency
for Safety and Health at Work

American Psychological Association: Stress in America
annual reports 2007-2014

The American Institute of Stress

Interviews of Stress Experts conducted by the American
Institute of Stress

The Center for Social Epidemiology

Analysis of The Whitehall Study by The Center for Social

Sheffield University Executive Briefing of Whitehall I
(1967) and Whitehall II studies