If your dream is to land a job in the US, think again! New research suggests that the American workplace is physically and emotionally taxing, with workers frequently facing unstable work schedules, unpleasant and potentially hazardous working conditions, and an often hostile social environment.

More than one-in-four American workers said they have too little time to do their job, with the complaint being most common among white-collar workers, according to an in-depth study of over 3,000 US workers by the non-profit RAND Corporation, Harvard Medical School and University of California, Los Angeles.

About one-half of participants reported that they perform some work in their free time in order to meet workplace demands.

“I was surprised how taxing the workplace appears to be, both for less-educated and for more-educated workers,” said lead author Nicole Maestas, Associate Professor at Harvard Medical School and an adjunct economist at RAND.

“Work is taxing at the office and it’s taxing when it spills out of the workplace into people’s family lives,” Maestas said.

One in three workers said they have no control over their schedule, according to the report released by RAND Corporation on Monday.

Despite much public attention focused on the growth of telecommuting, 78 per cent of workers reported they must be present at their workplace during regular business hours.

Nearly three-fourths of American workers reported either intense or repetitive physical exertion on the job at least a quarter of the time, according to the report based on the American Working Conditions Survey.

While workers without a college education reported greater physical demands, many college-educated and older workers were affected as well.

Strikingly, more than half of Americans reported exposure to unpleasant and potentially hazardous working conditions.

Nearly one in five workers — a “disturbingly high” fraction — said they face a hostile or threatening social environment at work.

Younger and prime-aged women are the workers most likely to experience unwanted sexual attention, while younger men are more likely to experience verbal abuse, the findings showed.

The workplace survey was fielded in 2015 to collect detailed information across a broad range of working conditions in the American workplace, as well as details about workers and job characteristics.

First Published | 14 August 2017 9:36 PM
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