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In a Wall Street Journal podcast, they use "overstretched workers" to mean "overworked workers". If I just say the sentence below without any other context, will people know I'm talking about overworked workers?

Overstretched workers are prone to mental health issues.

Edit: I listened to that podcast again. It first talks about overwork and then immediately says overstretched workers. It seems that it does mean overworked workers. Is there a person who can watch the video at 0:44 for me? https://youtu.be/faLGvnQh1PA

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  • Today, I used "overstretched workers" in that sentence. I was asked by a native speaker if I mean "overworked" or "overstressed". I'm so confused. Does "overstretched" mean "overworked" or not? Commented Nov 8, 2022 at 8:59

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One of the definitions for overstretched is precisely:

having more work or other activities than you can manage:
Our staff work hard but the reality is they are overstretched.
This is a crowded and chronically overstretched rail system.

In the Wall Street Journal podcast, the speaker uses "overstretched" to mean that the workers have more work or activities than they can manage.

Saying, "Overstretched workers are prone to mental health issues" is grammatically correct, and no further context is needed.

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In some contexts, yes.

If the amount of work is such that workers must work faster (or with fewer breaks) than is acceptable, they are overstretched.

There may be some cases where workers are overstretched because there is more work than they can accomplish, but they cannot work any faster, so that the work simply does not get done.

A call centre is a good example. Each worker can (generally) only deal with one call at a time, so they can't work any harder, and the result of 'overstretching' will be very slow response times and calls abandoned by the caller.

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Overstretched workers are prone to mental health issues.=The workers that are put under excessive pressure show mental health issues.

Overstretched workers=The workers that are put under excessive pressure

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  • So... does overstretched mean the same as overworked?
    – gotube
    Commented Nov 7, 2022 at 14:53
  • I listened to that podcast again. It first talks about overwork and then immediately says overstretched workers. It seems that it does mean overworked workers. Is there a person who can watch the video at 0:44 for me? youtu.be/faLGvnQh1PA Commented Nov 7, 2022 at 15:29
  • @gotube yes, meaning is same almost i think
    – Sam
    Commented Nov 7, 2022 at 16:57

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