'Crazy-busy' Canadians under pressure on the job

Feb 28, 2013

Having more control in the workplace can have negative consequences for individuals but it depends on the form of job control, according to new research out of the University of Toronto.

Scott Schieman measured a range of work conditions using data from a of 6,004 Canadian workers. To measure levels of job pressure, he asked questions such as: "How often do you feel overwhelmed by how much you had to do at work?" "How often do you have to work on too many tasks at the same time?" and "How often do the demands of your job exceed the time you have to do the work?"

He found that roughly one-third of Canadian workers report that they "often" or "very often" feel overwhelmed by work or that the demands of their job exceed the time to do the work. Four out of 10 workers report having to work on too many tasks at the same time "often" or "very often."

"Excessive job demands have detrimental effects," says Schieman. "We know that workers who report higher scores on these indicators of job pressure also tend to experience more problems navigating work and family roles, more symptoms of physical and and they tend to be less satisfied with their work."

The study found that having control over one's work schedule and job autonomy are associated with lower levels of job pressure. However, challenging work in which one is required to keep learning new things, engage in creative activities, use skills and abilities and handle a variety of tasks, is associated with higher levels of job pressure as is being in a position of authority where one is supervising or managing others.

Three key indicators of higher (SES) – , higher status (executives or professionals) and income – were each independently associated with greater job pressure. "However, those with high SES face greater pressure mostly because of their more challenging work and greater levels of authority," says Schieman.

"These findings speak directly to the idea of the stress of higher status. People talk these days about being 'crazy busy' and not having enough time to do all the things at work that need to get done. But being 'crazy busy' isn't randomly distributed in the population. This study demonstrates an unexpected price for higher SES and more control at work –and that price is excessive pressure in the workplace."

Job-Related Resources and the Pressures of Working Life, is published in the journal Social Science Research.

Explore further: Computer games give a boost to English

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Do creative work activities create stress?

Jun 09, 2010

The demands associated with creative work activities pose key challenges for workers, according to new research out of the University of Toronto that describes the stress associated with some aspects of work and its impact ...

The price of power at work?

Aug 19, 2008

Individuals with a more senior level of job authority have higher levels of interpersonal conflict according to new research out of the University of Toronto.

Work/life balance blurred for some employees

Dec 10, 2008

Employees with high levels of job autonomy and control over their schedules are more likely to bring their work home with them, according to surprising new research out of the University of Toronto.

Power at work has payoffs, but not for health

Oct 19, 2009

Being at the top has its perks, but new University of Toronto research shows people in positions of authority at work are more likely to experience certain psychological and physical problems that can undermine the health ...

Recommended for you

Precarious work schedules common among younger workers

6 hours ago

One wish many workers may have this Labor Day is for more control and predictability of their work schedules. A new report finds that unpredictability is widespread in many workers' schedules—one reason ...

Girls got game

7 hours ago

Debi Taylor has worked in everything from construction development to IT, and is well and truly socialised into male-dominated workplaces. So when she found herself the only female in her game development ...

Computer games give a boost to English

23 hours ago

If you want to make a mark in the world of computer games you had better have a good English vocabulary. It has now also been scientifically proven that someone who is good at computer games has a larger ...

Saddam Hussein—a sincere dictator?

Aug 28, 2014

Are political speeches manipulative and strategic? They could be – when politicians say one thing in public, and privately believe something else, political scientists say. Saddam Hussein's legacy of recording private discussions ...

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

VendicarE
not rated yet Feb 28, 2013
The time has come to reduce slavery to a 4 day work week.