Two-out-of-three people say the stress level in their workplace is high, according to a survey of more than 450 North American employees by Right Management, the talent and career management experts within ManpowerGroup.

“After all, we’re talking about work, not play, so we shouldn’t be surprised if there’s high energy or intensity on the job,” said Jeff Gerkin, Western General Manager for Right Management. “In fact, one has to wonder about the 11 percent of workplaces that seem to have low stress.”

Nevertheless, according to Gerkin, the percentages suggest that workplace stress is at an unusually high level.

“It would be foolhardy for management to dismiss employees’ complaints because a perception of stress impairs engagement, and that is a core issue that impacts productivity and the bottom line,” he said.

What accounts for such a high level of workplace stress? Gerkin believes it is a combination of factors.

“We’re into the fourth year of a volatile employment market – employee cutbacks, lean staffing, a weak job market and relentless pressure for companies to perform,” he said. “This survey, as well as others we have recently conducted, leaves little doubt that people are frustrated and impatient, and this is a problem that won’t go away anytime soon.”

Gerkin recommended four tips for managers to help employees to manage their stress levels:

• Hold regular work review meetings to clarify priorities and deadlines.

•  Be open and authentic when sharing company performance information.

• Clarify for each individual employee their role in making the organization successful.

• Foster flexible working practices to help employees to juggle work and life pressures.

“Stress can significantly impact an employee’s health and well-being,” Gerkin said. “While there’s a balance in finding the right level of productive tension that drives employees to perform and excel, too much stress can cause longer term detrimental problems for both the individual and the organization.”