A Large Number of Americans Find Their Workplace Hostile

Nearly one-fifth of American workers said that their work environment was hostile or threatening, according to a new study.

The survey, which examined 3,066 U.S. workers ages 25-71, was conducted in 2015 by RAND Corp, Harvard Medical School and the University of California-Los Angeles. An alarming number of people responded with information about their workplaces being hostile, threatening or stressful overall.

About half of respondents said that they must work on their own time, often after hours, to meet their job requirements.

More than half of Americans report exposure to unpleasant and potentially hazardous working conditions. Nearly one in five workers — a “disturbingly high” fraction — say they face a hostile or threatening social environment at work. Younger women are the workers most likely to experience unwanted sexual attention, while younger men are more likely to experience verbal abuse. Only 38 percent felt that their job offered opportunity to advance.

One in four workers said they have too little time to do their job, and two-thirds worked under tight deadlines.

“I was surprised how taxing the workplace appears to be, both for less-educated and for more-educated workers,” said lead author Nicole Maestas, an associate professor at Harvard Medical School and an adjunct economist at RAND, in a statement. “Work is taxing at the office and it’s taxing when it spills out of the workplace into people’s family lives.”

There were some positive notes, though. More than half said that their boss was supportive and that they were friends with their coworkers, while nearly four out of five said that their job provided meaning or purpose always or most of the time.

Similar research was also conducted in Europe and researchers will eventually compare the findings to study the similarities and differences in the two workplace locations.