Today’s Mentally Destructive Workplace

By Stephen M. Pfeiffer, Ph.D.

According to

ABC News

, Americans work more than citizens in any other industrialized country. We take fewer vacations, work longer days, and retire later. Perhaps, not surprisingly, a survey by

Harris Interactive for Everest College

found that about 83 percent of American workers report feeling stressed out by their jobs due to too much work, not enough pay, insufficient sleep and leisure time, and work-life imbalance. However, surveys show that it’s not simply these overt pressures that are stressing workers out. Survey after survey show that today’s workers feel disengaged and disempowered in the workplace, which not only causes workplace mental health problems; it becomes an economic issue.

An article in

Psychology Today

includes examples of workplace stress experienced by employees. One employee’s company was going through a major transition, and he and his subordinates were unsure about their future roles at the organization. His boss, however, instead of communicating with him, told him simply not to worry about it, which affected his ability to sleep and increased his state of anxiety. Another example provided in the article is of an employee who had many responsibilities but lacked the authority to hire additional staff. These examples point to lack of communication and empowerment by superiors.

The article cites several other contributors to workplace stress and anxiety. According to a poll take by Gallup, a research-based, global



company, “Only 41% of employees felt that they know what their company stands for and what makes its brand different from its competitors’ brands.” The article also cites a survey from

Personnel Today

which found that 47 percent of the 2,000 surveyed said their managers made them feel threatened rather than rewarded, and 24 percent thought their bosses were poor communicators and lacked empathy.

Jim Clifton

, Chairman and CEO of Gallup wrote, “Gallup research also shows that these managers from hell are creating active disengagement costing the U.S. an estimated $450 billion to $550 billion annually. If your company reflects the average in the U.S., just imagine what poor management and disengagement are costing your bottom line.”

Since Americans work more hours and retire later than the rest of the world, it’s imperative that the workplace contributes to both the health of employees and of the company. Relationship counseling may be a viable option for understanding how to communicate effectively and create an engaging environment. For more information on relationship counseling at work, please feel free to reach out to me at or at my website,