Campus News

December 12, 2011

FSAP survey: Work-related stress, finances, fitness among top issues for employees

Celebrating 25 years of service to Emory employees, the Faculty Staff Assistance Program (FSAP) hosted an Open House on Tuesday, Dec. 6 to showcase the past, present and future. The employee assistance program provides behavioral mental health, education and outreach, health promotion and wellness, and organizational dynamics services for Emory staff and faculty and their family members, and others. 

FSAP Director Paula Gomes and FSAP founder Jean Porter shared stories, perspectives and the mission to enhance the emotional and physical health, performance and well-being of individuals and organizational units at Emory.

"A special highlight of this 25th year," says Gomes "was the administration of the 2011 Health and Wellness Survey to better understand the wellness needs, interests and perspectives of Emory's workforce."

The online survey was sent to all faculty, physicians and staff of both Emory University and Emory Healthcare during the spring.

"Several trends were revealed as a result of the survey," says Robin Huskey, FSAP's manager of education and outreach. "The majority of respondents agreed that Emory and their immediate supervisors care about their overall health and wellness.  Employees also reported concerns regarding stress and heavy workloads, as well as challenges with finances, fitness, nutrition and sleep." 

Stress/anxiety emerged as the top personal health issue impacting work performance. Sources of stress reported included: managing multiple roles (46 percent), personal finances (37 percent), and the general economic climate (35 percent). Workplace challenges were identified as another significant source of stress, with heavy workload (51 percent ) ranking as the top work issue impacting job performance.  Survey respondents also expressed concern over budget cuts and units being short-staffed.  

Fitness was another major theme, with 55 percent reporting it was a challenge to engage in moderate physical activity three to four times per week. Respondents cited "exercise and fitness" workshops and "fitness coaching" as their top choices for services offered.  Respondents also requested yoga classes, free access to fitness facilities, and more  fitness programs at different locations.

Other key findings:

• 82 percent  of employees reported having heard about FSAP services before taking the survey, and 56 percent reported understanding the full breadth of services.

• Over 90 percent of supervisors reported they would support their direct reports using FSAP services during work hours, however, 59.5 percent of employees felt their supervisor would support their use of services on work time. 

• The top personal life issue impacting work performance was caregiving for a family member (28 percent).

Read a summary of the survey results (PDF).

As FSAP looks to the future, these survey results will help guide its programming.  And FSAP has already begun to use the survey findings to make some adjustments.

"Our ultimate goal," says Huskey, "is to enhance the professional and personal well-being of Emory employees. Several recommendations for action have been identified and we are well on our way to implementation."

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