June 2018

Is Work-Related Stress the Health Epidemic of the 21st Century?

Employee burnout is becoming a significant problem for the American workforce.1 For many, the traditional nine-to-five workday is slowly becoming non-existent1 – especially as increasingly accessible technology offers the flexibility to work away from the office and on the go.2 While this may sound like every 21st century workers’ dream, the reality is the U.S. workforce is struggling with striking the right work-life balance. Here's what a recent survey3 uncovered about American workers:

  • 3 in 10 check work emails while on vacation
  • More than 1/3 claim that they’ve returned from vacation to so much work that they wish they’d never left at all
  • 18% say vacations cause them to be more stressed out about work

Perhaps this is why in 2016, 1 in 5 Americans left vacation days on the table.3

Whether it's a company's culture or the availability of communication technologies that reinforce the "always-on," 24/7/365, world we live in today, the American workforce feels the need to check-in during vacation, on weekends and even when they’re home sick. For many, the inability to "disconnect" from work is a contributing factor to ongoing work-related stress. This stress can result in decreased job satisfaction, lower workplace productivity and the onset of emotional and physical ailments including, but not limited to:3

  • Anger issues at work
  • Depression
  • Sleepless nights
  • Aches and pains
  • High blood pressure and more

As an industry leader, and #1 disability carrier, Cigna is focused on improving the health, well-being and sense of security of our customers. That’s why Cigna's disability program focuses first and foremost on prevention. However, if a disabling illness or injury does occur, we help connect employees with our expert health coaches and vocational resources who team up to help get customers back on their feet – and on the job – faster. 

Click here to learn more about work-related stress in the 21st century (specifically the impact that an "always on 24/7/365" climate has on employee health) and for tips on how to navigate these challenges.

Click here for Cigna's Disability Prevention Tips, Tricks and Checklists digi-mag which includes information on how employers can help their employees manage particular musculoskeletal conditions and emotional distress in the workplace.

Click here to learn more about the State of Disability Protection in America. Discover why Disability Insurance is a critical component of an individuals’ financial planning strategy.

  1. Quartz, “Employee burnout is becoming a huge problem in the American workforce.” March 2017.
  2. HR Magazine, “The ‘always on’ workplace: Risks, opportunities and how to make it work.” February 2017.
  3. Career Builder, “Do American workers need a vacation? New Career Builder data shows majority is burned out at work, while some are highly stressed or both.” May 2017.