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Business

Many Americans find workplace 'hostile and taxing'

Workplaces in the US are often found to be grueling, stressful and surprisingly hostile, a new study by American researchers has shown. At the same time, workers say they enjoy considerable autonomy.

More than one in four US employees say they don't have enough time to do their job properly, with the complaint being most common among white-collar workers, a  a joint study by the non-profit global policy think tank Rand Corporation, Harvard Medical School and the University of California reveals.

Those polled said the intensity of their work frequently spilled over into their personal lives, with 50 percent of that group emphasizing that they had to perform some work in their free time in order to meet job 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, an associate professor at Harvard Medical School.

"Work is taxing at the office and it's taxing when it spills over into people's family lives."

Not everything is grim

Just 54 percent of respondents said they worked the same number of hours on a day-to-day basis. One in three employees said they had no control over their schedule.

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Despite much public debate focusing on telecommuting, 78 percent of US workers reported they must be physically present at their workplace during regular business hours.

The authors of the survey pointed out that more than half of Americans complained about being exposed to "unpleasant and potentially hazardous" working conditions, while nearly one in five added they faced a "hostile or threatening social environment" at work.

But the study does not fail to mention that more than 80 percent of respondents praised a considerable level of autonomy at the workplace, saying they were allowed to solve problems creatively and try out their own ideas.

The survey confirmed that retirement was often "a fluid concept." Many older employees said they had previously retired before rejoining the workforce. And many people aged 50 and older, who were not employed, said they would consider rejoining the workforce, if conditions were right.

The findings were compiled on the basis of a poll of over 3,000 adults across the United States.

hg/jd (Rand Corporation, AP)

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