82% of respondents say making a workplace error is stressful, according to research by Deloitte.


A recent survey of 23,000 professionals by Deloitte has revealed that making an error at work is the top cause of workplace stressors. The study found that 82% found a mistake to cause stress.

Other types of situations deemed as stressful by respondents included: a challenging workload, with long hours or juggling of multiple responsibilities (52%), moments of conflict, like getting reprimanded or delivering a difficult message (52%), situations that create urgency, like critical projects or time pressure (46%), and face-to-face interactions, like delivering a presentation or meeting a new stakeholder (45%).

The survey indicated that workplace stress is relative and not everyone experiences stress in the same way or to the same degree.

Overall, the majority of respondents reported modest levels of stress.  Additionally, 14% reported being stressed only rarely and 57% reported being stressed sometimes. However, 26% reported being stressed often, and 3% reported being always stressed.

Deloitte’s report identified four “Business Chemistry” types. These were Guardians, Integrators, Pioneers and Drivers. Suzanne Vickberg, senior manager at Deloitte LLP explained the need for firms to look at the details of these. “Organizations and teams may want to pay special attention to their inward-focused team members to understand what might be done to reduce stress levels.

“Inward-focused types may bring particular strengths that can add value to a team—like conscientiousness, strong listening skills and detail-focus. Their tendency to be sensitive to others’ experiences and reactions can help improve team collaboration and performance, but they are often the most stressed—and overlooked—members of the team.”

Deloitte also asked a second sample of more than 17,000 professionals about their effectiveness under stress, the majority of Drivers and Pioneers reported they are most effective when moderately or very stressed (61% and 59% respectively).

In comparison, fewer Integrators and Guardians reported they were most effective at these stress levels (51% and 50%, respectively).

Respondents in the second sample were also asked about their coping strategies for dealing with stress. The responses, from most popular to least, were: action strategies, like diving right in and tackling the issue head on (83%), cognitive coping strategies, like stepping back and thinking through possibilities (79%), groundwork, like getting organized or seeking further information (78%), interpersonal coping strategies including talking with someone and bouncing ideas (47%), taking timeout to do something else, like socializing or exercising (46%).