Monday, September 26, 2016

Research: Twitter Reveals Workplace Stress

Chances are, your stress level has gone up simply because it's Monday.

You're not alone.

A new study by Dr. Wei Wang at the University of Central Florida finds that tweets mentioning work stress were highest on Mondays, and start to slowly decline throughout the week. Researchers say there is a "Friday dip" for work stress and negative emotion.

While you might think that work stress disappears over the weekend,it turns out we're fretting even when we're away from work. Specifically, the research finds that once we've hit Saturday, negative emotions are already starting to surface and really pick up on Sunday.

Still, Wang found that Sunday tweets aren't necessarily all negative: More people tweeted optimistically about their work. Researchers say that could be because people have had time over the weekend to decompress, and that leads to a better attitude toward the coming week.

People tweeted the most about health problems mid-week (researchers looked for terms like aches, itch, pain, sick, drug, etc.) , and found that people are less inclined mid-week to tweet good things about their jobs. That could be because they're in the midst of a workweek that feels like it will never end.

In the U.S., the Center for Disease Control and Prevention finds that more than 70% of workers report that their jobs are stressful, which is one of the top reasons for cardiovascular disease that affects one third of American adults. It also costs the U.S. about $444 billion a year.

Wang says he hopes his research will highlight how big data and computational techniques can be applied to social sciences and used to better health research.

For managers, it's a clear signal that they may need to step up their engagement efforts throughout the week. Perhaps it means having a pizza party mid-week instead of on Friday, when workers are already feeling better. Or, it could mean banning Monday meetings, providing every worker some down time during the stressful mid-week grind and doing away with weekend emails unless it's an emergency.

As for workers, they need to find ways to bring down their stress levels, perhaps by taking a yoga class every Wednesday, having a nice dinner on Sunday with family and friends and making sure they schedule a lunch away from the office on Monday.

Any suggestions on how to combat workplace stress that you've found helpful?

No comments: