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Many U.S. employees feel overworked, stressed, study says

The survey released Wednesday found those employees who said they feel overworked were more likely to neglect themselves and less likely to feel successful in their personal life

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A study released Wednesday suggests that many U.S. workers may be working too hard, leading to more mistakes on the job, neglected personal relationships and higher health-care costs.

In the study, conducted by the New York-based nonprofit Families and Work Institute, 46 percent of respondents said they felt overworked in one way or another.

"This study is a clarion call for all of us -- companies and individuals -- to look at how we're working," said Ellen Galinsky, institute president and co-author of the study.

The survey, which consisted of phone interviews of 1,000 U.S. workers, said that 28 percent of respondents often felt overworked. Twenty-eight percent said they felt overwhelmed by their workload, and 29 percent said they felt they had no time to step back and reflect on their work.

Women respondents tended to say they felt more overworked than men, while baby boomers (workers age 36-54) said they felt more overworked than Gen-Xers (workers age 18-35) or workers 55 and older.

If so many people feel they're being overworked, how much time are they spending working? According to the survey, 24 percent of U.S. workers said they spent 50 or more hours on the job each week. Twenty-two percent said they worked six to seven days a week, and 25 percent said they don't use vacation time to which they're entitled.

Workers under stress talk with CNN's Kathy Slobogin (May 16)

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Galinsky said the feeling of being overworked is not solely because of the number of hours spent working.

"When you feel pressured and pushed, when you feel not respected, when you feel tension at work, when you feel the work that you do isn't of real value, that leads to overwork," Galinsky said. "Sizable portions of the U.S. work forces have these feelings."

The survey found that those who said they felt overworked were more likely to neglect themselves and less likely to feel successful in their personal and family relationships.

Overworked employees, according to the study, can lead to drastic on-the-job consequences. They are more likely to look for a new job, to feel angry with their employers and to make mistakes. Seventeen percent of respondents who said they felt overworked said they often made mistakes at work, compared with only 1 percent of those who said they did not feel overworked.

Overwork can take its toll on the bottom line, the survey concluded. Overwork tends to raise the cost of health care because of stressed workers. Employees who quit or are dismissed because they are burned out force businesses to spend more money to train replacement workers, the study said.

Survey researchers said it is the cost of overworked employees that, in the end, will prompt U.S. businesses to take action to prevent workers from becoming victims of a workaholic society.

CNN Correspondent Kathy Slobogin contributed to this report.

• Families and Work Institute

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