Stress and psychosocial risks increased in working life in 2017 in Switzerland

Stress is an increasing problem in the workplace. In 2017, 21 % of economically active persons were very often stressed at work compared with 18 % in 2012. In general, a rise was also seen for psychosocial risks. However, the frequency of physical risks remained stable. Almost half (49 %) of persons who were stressed said that they were emotionally exhausted at work and were at greater risk of a burnout. These are some of the results of the latest publication from the Federal Statistical Office (FSO).

In 2017 around 50 % of the working population reported at their job to have at least three of the total nine types of psychosocial risks. This corresponds with an increase of four percentage points in comparison to 2012. Psychosocial burdens result from the organisation of the work and develop among others by high time pressure, small leeway, missing support by superiors or co-workers, discrimination or violence, and fear for the workplace and stress.

Stress teams with further psychosocial risks …

The proportion of people mostly at work or anytime under stress, has increased from 18 % ion 2012 to 21 % in 2017 for both women and men. Thus stress advanced to the psychosocial risks growing most. Rather drastic was the increase of the working population under 30 years of age (from 19 % to 25 %), as well as in the area of health and social professions (from 18 % to 23 %). Extremely frequent persons are under stress when these are exposed to a minimum of three further types of psychosocial risks (2017 37 %). Their proportion increased since 2012 by 4 percentage points.

… and increases the Burnout-Risk

Approximately half (49 %) of the very stressed person feel emotionally exhausted. Such working population that is a lot less exposed to stress or not at all have a proportion of 13 %. Emotional exhaustion is the sign for a high risk of a burnout and is connected to a feeble state of health. Emotionallly exhausted persons are subject to six times higher sign of a middle heavy to markedly heavy depression as against the ones that consider themselves emotionally not exhausted (24 % as against 4 %). In general the psychosocial risks increase the probability to feel at work emotionally exhausted.

Stable situation at physical risks

The proportion of persons to be subjected at work to at least three from nine physical risks has been between 2012 and 2017 stable (45 %), whereas women show an increase of some risks: They have to execute frequently the same arm and hand movements (increase from 57 to 61 %) or to work under extreme temperatures. Male persons are subjected a frequency of physical risks than women (48 % as against 42 %) resulting in the fact that the differences tend to decrease.  

The Influence of the working conditions on the state of health

In 2017 12 % of the persons being subjected to at least three physical risks, and 11 % of persons suffering under at least three types of psychosocial risks, estimated that their state of health as mediocre or (very) bad. Persons, being less frequently confronted with such risks are proportionally having a share of only 6 %. When considering all working conditions and social demographic characteristics it is noteworthy, that besides stress, there is to note negative influence on the state of health by three other circumstances: painful or tiring postures, fear to lose the working place, and emotional stress such as the sublimation of feelings.