Stress Levels In the Workplace Are On the Decline

workplace stress

A MediKeeper Survey Analyzes the Last Three Years of Employee Stress Data to Better Understand the Trends

Stress is a topic that has everyone talking. Articles on the subject are found in publications related to news, business, women’s health, lifestyle, money, fitness, and more. Headlines read, “Stress at work is just as bad as secondhand smoke,” and “16 Surprising Reasons You’re Stressed at Work.” We are hooked on stress; what it is, how it affects us, and how we can remedy it. Here at MediKeeper, we can’t stay away from the topic of stress, either.

We were curious about the stress levels and causes felt by our client population. By leveraging the data we’ve collected through our customizable wellness portal used by companies across the nation, we were able to glean some surprising insights into stress in corporate America.

Let’s take a deeper look at the study and our findings.

Statistics About Stress in The Workplace

When analyzing the data, we made some interesting discoveries — some of the most significant being related to the question, “How would you rate your current stress level with 1 being low and 5 being high?”

The largest number of respondents (35.9%) answered with a “2” in 2016; whereas, just two years prior, the most popular answer was a “3” (32.82%). This trend reveals that the average stress among workplace employees has decreased in the last two years. And further analysis confirms this.

Over the three-year period (2014-2016), the percentage of respondents who answered with the lowest stress level (“1”), increased by 58%. Conversely, the percentage of respondents who answered with the highest level of stress (“5”), decreased by 39% over that same period.

Respondents were also asked, “What factors contribute to your stress level?”. They were instructed to mark one or more checkboxes with pre-determined responses. Here were the top identified causes of stress in 2016:

  1. Financial worries
  2. Concern over family life
  3. Feeling overworked
  4. Having difficulty sleeping
  5. Concern over child’s performance, habits, or behavior
  6. Concern over job security
  7. Family member or close friend is sick
  8. Worries about personal health or an injury
  9. Recent career/job change
  10. Worried about current personal relationship

Over the three-year period, the majority of these stressors remained in the same position. In fact, the order of the top five saw no change from 2014 to 2016. And coming in last place three years in a row was “Loss of job.” These findings reveal that employees stress more about finances and home life than things related to work — which is exactly what we at MediKeeper like to hear.

Instead of looking at a representative sample of all Americans, the MediKeeper study narrows the focus to individuals who are employed and have access to wellness programming through their employer.

We looked at the results of the American Psychological Association’s (APA) 2015 Stress in America study. (We are still waiting on the release of the 2016 Stress in America study results.)

Like us, the APA found that the three leading sources of stress were “money,” “family responsibility,” and “work,”; however, the ranking order of these stressors was a bit different. In the APA study, “work” beat “family responsibility” for the second-place slot. You can see from our numbered list, work-related stress came in third for our sample.  And, according to the APA stress-level results from 2014 and 2015, we can see that nationwide stress is actually on the rise.

These contrasting results lead us to believe that our sample of employees with access to wellness programming are not only less stressed about work than the general population, but they are also less stressed as a whole. While nationwide stress is on the rise, the MediKeeper sample is experiencing the opposite trend.

Corporate Environments & Wellness

The stress profile of our client population is unique, as our respondents had access to health management tools and worked in a corporate environment that promoted wellness. While we can’t yet make the assumption that our wellness program is directly resulting in lower levels of stress, it’s safe to say that workplace wellness may be the cause. This analysis has highlighted some interesting facts about stress in corporate America, and has helped lay the groundwork for our future studies.

While we are able to draw conclusions from this data on a large-scale, it’s also important to conduct company-specific analysis. The true goal of our data is to provide insights to employers on their employees’ stress and address those findings with targeted programming and smarter wellness investments.

About the Study

The MediKeeper wellness portal features a comprehensive Health Risk Assessment (HRA) questionnaire which users complete to build a personalized wellness profile. Users include individuals associated with particular healthcare providers, insurance brokers, wellness companies, TPAs, and corporate employers throughout the U.S. Part of the HRA questionnaire targets stress, wanting to know the causes and the levels of employees’ stress.

In this online environment, users are made to feel safe and confident about submitting truthful data. The MediKeeper wellness portal is HIPAA-compliant and generates de-identified aggregate data, meaning it does not disclose any identifiable information on its users and their respective companies.

Here are some additional details about the methodology of our study.

Time of study

The study took place over a three-year period, from 2014 to 2016.


Respondents were a subset of the more than 3 million individuals that took the MediKeeper Health Risk Assessment.


The companies in the subset represented locations across the U.S. as well as a wide range of sizes.


Respondents anonymous answered a four-question survey in the form of an online questionnaire.

For more information about MediKeeper and questions about how you can collect this data for your organization, visit or call (858) 251-3250.


2 Responses to “Stress Levels In the Workplace Are On the Decline”

    • Melissa, thank you for your question. While not a cohort comparison, 95% of employees included in the 2014 sample were present in the 2015 and 2016 samples. Regarding your follow-up question pertaining to interventions, all corporate wellness programs are different, but all employees included in the survey: 1) participated in a wellness program that used the MediKeeper portal, including our Health Risk Assessment, and 2) had access to numerous online tools, including a health education library and fitness tracking applications. We plan on conducting additional research.