What Generation is the Most Stressed Out?

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A survey of 2,000 Millennials by Lhasa OMS reveals that they believe they're the most stressed out generation.

Survey results show that a staggering percentage of Millennials—78 percent—think that previous generations have led and continue to lead less stressful lives.

According to the survey results, nearly half of Millennials (40 percent) say they experience stress every day.

What’s Stressing Millennials?

As someone who employs and manages Millennials, understanding how they feel about stress and what’s stressing them out can help you be a better leader.

Why do Millennials feel that life is more stressful for them?

  • Incurring more debt: 78%
  • Competition in the job market: 76%
  • Healthcare costs: 70%
  • Future of America: 64%
  • Today's politics: 63%
  • Future of the planet: 61%
  • Tech/media overload: 56%
  • Online social pressure: 55%
  • Difficulty with dating: 31%
  • Threat of identity theft: 29%
  • Online bullying: 26%

What are the top sources of stress for Millennials?

  • Finances: 74%
  • Work / career pressure: 65%
  • Work-life balance: 56%
  • Mental health: 55%
  • Family/Friend relationships: 44%
  • Physical health: 43%
  • American politics: 43%
  • Romantic relationships: 37%
  • Global threats: 34%
  • Living situations: 28%
  • Achieving life milestones: 27%
  • Social media: 25%
  • Moving/Relocating: 21%
  • Crime/Violence: 19%
  • Mainstream media: 17%

Operators and managers should take note of many of the top answers to both questions. Millennials have indicated that their number one stressor is finances. Competing for jobs, feeling job-related pressure, and work-life balance are right behind finances in terms of stressing out Millennials.

Our industry has slowly been addressing the topics of health and wellness. This survey shows that mental health, physical health, and the costs associated with healthcare are concerning to Millennials. It has been widely reported that this generation is less likely to have health insurance but more likely to have mental health visits and pursue alternative care options.

Check this out: Financial Wellness Will Improve Your Overall Health

Just about anyone asked would say they’d like more money. Ninety-one percent of Millennial respondents indicated that they’d be less stressed out if they had higher incomes.

How is Stress Affecting Millennials?

Stress manifests in several ways. Lhasa OMS researched not only the sources of Millennial stress but also how it’s affecting this generation.

Physical effects

  • Fatigue: 64%
  • Insomnia: 53%
  • Physical burnout: 49%
  • Restlessness: 48%
  • Increase in headaches: 40%

Emotional effects

  • Anxiety: 77%
  • Feeling overwhelmed: 67%
  • Anger/Irritability: 61%
  • Lack of motivation/focus: 61%
  • Depression: 56%

Behavioral effects

  • Socially withdrawn: 54%
  • Poor communication: 37%
  • Dietary changes: 36%
  • Drug or alcohol abuse/misuse: 21%
  • Missing commitments: 18%

More than half of Millennials, based on this survey, are experiencing fatigue, anxiety, and depression. They’re also withdrawn, angry or irritable, and unmotivated or unfocused.

Check this out: Achieving a Healthy, Long-term Career in the Bar Business

As an operator or manager can understand, these statistics are alarming. The impact of stressed out team members on a consumer-facing industry can’t be overstated.

How Can Operators Help Millennial Team Members?

Over the past few years it has been reported that Millennials are disloyal employees. That’s a bit of an oversimplification.

Gallup research released in 2016 revealed that 71 percent of Millennials are disengaged at work and 60 percent or more are open to new job opportunities. Their research estimated that absenteeism—a byproduct of depression, disengagement, poor mental health and poor physical health, all of which can be caused by stress—cost the US $23 billion in productivity across multiple industries.

It makes sense that Millennials, stressed out over their finances and career prospects, would be more mercenary in their approach to work. In other words, if the opportunity to make more money with another employer comes along, why wouldn’t they sell their talents to that higher bidder?

The key is meeting their employment needs to reduce turnover. Along with some very negative stereotypes of Millennials, what they look for in a workplace has been well reported. Whereas Generation X is largely independent and prefers to work alone without being hovered over by supervisors, Gen Y is more collaborative.

Millennials want to work with others, including working with mentors. They want to work for employers who take an interest in their careers and help them develop skills that make them more valuable in their careers. Feedback is important to Millennials, and they want to be recognized when they do well.

All these workplace preferences speak to an interest in positive workplace and brand culture. Millennials care about working for employers who have interests that align with their own. As stressed out as this generation is, it’s not surprising that they value time off and flexible schedules.

Owners, operators and managers (and coworkers) who are of older generations would do well to understand that every generation values different things. What motivates one generation likely won’t motivate another. For example, Millennials are believed to value experiences more than material things, a departure from previous generations.

A Gen X or Baby Boomer operator likely won’t find success in telling a Millennial employer what they “should” value, and vice versa. Instead, more workplace satisfaction would likely be achieved if each generation worked to understand rather than insult the other.

Check this out: Don't Forget Your Generation X Guests

Operators and managers can help their Millennial team members by encouraging them to share their business-related input and ideas; giving them responsibilities beyond busywork; mentoring them and showing an interest in their futures; making mental health resources available; and building a healthy work and brand culture that values health and wellness.


Lhasa OMS survey results

Gallup data on depression

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