A new survey has found that nearly half of workers in United States may be suffering from moderate to severe stress when they are on the job.
And 66 percent of employees revealed that they find it difficult to focus on tasks at work because of stress.
Stress has been dubbed "health epidemic of the 21st century" by the World Health Organization and is estimated to cost American businesses up to 300 billion dollars per year.
However, there are ways to reduce its impact on human lives and companies' bottom line, despite stress being a daunting, pervasive problem, experts say.
A new survey of 2,500 employees by ComPsych, a provider of employee assistance programs (EAPs), has highlighted the dimensions of the problem.
Apart from reporting difficulties with focusing on tasks at work, employees also said that stress was responsible for errors and/or missed deadlines (21 percent), trouble getting along with co-workers/superiors (15.5 percent), missed days (14.9 percent) and lateness (14.4 percent).
Due in part to the prevalence of stress in today's workplace, behavioural disability costs have increased over 300 percent in the past decade and account for 30 percent of all disability claims.
Additionally, medical doctors have suggested that stress is the causative factor of illness underlying more than 70 percent of all visits to the family doctor.
Though the Great Recession has formally been laid to rest - a major source of workplace stress itself-it is unlikely that the recovery will witness radical reductions in workplace stress, experts say.
High levels of unemployment and job uncertainty still prevails; organizations are focused on driving productivity with a smaller workforce, and structural changes in the overall economy continue to affect workers across the globe.
But employers do have tools they can leverage to address workplace stress, experts say.
Employee assistance programs that comprise work-life services are proven to help reduce employee stress, decrease absenteeism and turnover, and augment productivity. In addition, research has revealed that EAPs have been shown to directly impact disability claims.
"Unchecked stress can result in a number of productivity-sapping outcomes, from diminished work quality to absenteeism to co-worker clashes," said Dr. Richard A. Chaifetz, chairman and CEO of ComPsych.
"Organizations looking to compete in a volatile marketplace are proactively addressing stress - this can enhance employee well-being and therefore engagement. Leveraging the employee assistance program is an important step in dealing with workplace stress. A comprehensive EAP not only provides individual counseling, but organizational consulting on change management, team building and interpersonal skill development," Dr Chaifetz added.