Overwhelmed. Burned-out. Exhausted. No matter how you say it, American workers are stressed.

In the last six months, 60% of WorkLife clients reported that their stress levels negatively impacted their work and home lives. According to the American Psychological Association, the high cost of living and healthcare expenses are to blame for American’s rising stress levels—with 72% of adults feeling stressed about money at least some of the time.

People experience stress when they face unexpected and uncontrollable demands but don’t have the resources or support networks to meet them. While we’re told not to “sweat the small stuff,” even the smallest demands can cause significant stress if a person doesn’t have the resources they need.

So, the dead car battery you discover on your way out the door for work might make you frustrated and inconvenienced but you have options. You can borrow your spouse’s car, call Lyft, or ask a neighbor for a jumpstart. And you leave work a little early so you can take your car to the mechanic and get the battery replaced. Sure, you might remember the inconvenience later that week but will it affect you a month from now? What about six months from now?

For someone who lives in a one-car household, and doesn’t have the money for a new car battery (let alone a rideshare), and needs to drive their kids to school, and can’t afford to be late to work: a dead car battery can cause lasting stress. 

Stress is all too common and for employers it’s also pervasive and costly. Home-life stress doesn’t disappear when people walk through the door at work. And one person’s not-so-great day can seriously derail another’s, creating a domino effect that can ultimately disrupt business operations.

The indirect and direct costs associated with a stressed-out workforce can add up quickly.

Indirect Costs


Direct Costs

Insurance Claims

= $300 billion for U.S. businesses a year.

While the root causes of stress are broad, and often complicated, we’ve broken them down into the two areas WorkLife Navigators see frequently: finances and health insurance.


Nearly 60% of Americans are worried about their financial futures.

Of those, 30% say that money concerns are keeping them from doing their best at work.

Last year, the average wage for a WorkLife client was just over $18/hour. When only factoring in the cost of bare necessities, people are living too close to the bone. There’s no wiggle room should new expenses arise—like a broken washing machine or even money for a school field trip.

However, if WorkLife Navigators can help employees overcome immediate financial hurdles and then work with them to create a plan for the future, employees will be better equipped when the unexpected happens.

Health Insurance

Two out of three Americans with incomes lower than $50,000 cited the cost of health insurance as a major life stressor.

57% of Americans with incomes lower than $50,000 are stressed about their medical bills.

And, nearly 70% of Americans are currently paying for significant healthcare expenses, with 28% putting medical bills on their credit cards.

WorkLife’s Health Insurance Navigator can make sure employees are efficiently and effectively accessing their coverage, avoiding unnecessary medical expenses, and seeking preventative care to avoid negative health outcomes.

Resources and Support

WorkLife helps employees during some of the most difficult times of their lives—from impending evictions to overwhelming medical debt. If employees have access to resources and support when challenging situations arise, they will be better prepared to overcome the challenge without experiencing lasting stress.

71% of survey respondents said they felt less stressed after working with a WorkLife Navigator.

After working with a Navigator, 63% of survey respondents said they felt very or extremely prepared to handle a similar situation in the future.

Together, WorkLife Partnership and our Employer Members are working to connect employees with resources to help navigate and overcome stressful situations.

Budgeting &  Financial Support

Last year, one in four WorkLife clients reported that they were experiencing a financial challenge. And of those, 44% were able to overcome this challenge with as little as $200.

“WorkLife has been a life saver. I used to stay up all night panicking about finances. It negatively impacted every part of my life. Now, I am feeling financially healthier, and I am able to give more of my attention to my family and to other things that really matter.” – WorkLife Client

Health Insurance Navigation

More than half of the people who worked with WorkLife’s Health Insurance Navigator last year said that understanding health insurance terminology or their explanation of benefits was a barrier to using their health benefits. After working with the Health Insurance Navigator, 70% of clients reported positive change.

“I am juggling so much right now in my life that some things are falling through the cracks, and I just didn’t have the time to research and understand my insurance policy. Having WorkLife’s Navigator in our corner explaining our options gives me the peace of mind when the numerous medical bills come rolling in.” – WorkLife Client

Questions about how WorkLife can support your workforce? Don’t hesitate to contact us