Did you know that extreme workplace stress results in approximately $190 billion in healthcare costs and 120,000 deaths each year, according to The Center for Workplace Mental Health? By taking steps to proactively combat stress in the work environment, employers can enhance the overall wellbeing of their people and even reduce healthcare costs.
Many employers deem stress a personal problem and expect their employees to check their emotions at the door and get their work done. However, one really can’t ignore the effects of stress in the workplace. Not only does stress negatively impact employee health, but it also has negative impacts on job performance.
Luckily, corporate wellness programs and other preventative measures can help employers manage stress before it starts to infiltrate their teams.
Let’s dive into just how damaging stress can be in the workplace.
It’s no secret that stress majorly detracts from happiness in the workplace. When you peel back the layers of statistics surrounding stress, it’s even more alarming to consider the long-term effects of something that can be managed with a bit of effort.
According to Stress.org, workplace stress contributes to 46% of stress in the average person’s life. Individuals also experience stress while juggling work-life balance, job security, and managing relationships and personal issues, but workplace stress leads the charge by a large margin.
Additionally, Stress.org states that U.S. employees have increased their daily working hours by 8% in the last twenty years. Americans are now putting in more hours at work than any other industrial nation.
In a 2001 study, the statistics on work-life balance were even more alarming: 40% of American workers participating in the survey claimed that their office environment was “most like a real-life survivor program.”
Based on these statistics alone, it’s hard to ignore that stress has a major impact on the lives of many workers. Employers would do well to take these statistics seriously.
Workplace Stress: Why Employers Should Care
Many HR professionals are pushing for corporate wellness programs and effective stress management. They see the effects of stress on employees firsthand and are calling on employers to address these effects in the workplace.
Employers should consider that reduced stress among their employees will lead to lower healthcare costs. Ultimately, it is more expensive to have stressed workers than to have healthy and happy ones.
Studies have shown that healthcare expenditures increase by about 50% for workers who report high stress levels. Additionally, when stress levels are high enough that they are difficult for employees to manage, that stress can cost a company up to 40% more per employee.
Stress cascades into many other areas as well, such as insomnia. The Harvard Business Review reported on a study that indicated loss of productivity due to insomnia could cost up to $3,156 per year. Another study conducted by Sloan Work & Family Research Network, showed that employees who felt highly overworked were 20% more likely to make mistakes on the job.
Stress has even reached “epidemic” levels. The United Nations International Labor Organization has now defined workplace stress as a “global epidemic” with an estimated global cost of $200 billion per year. Employers should take stress among their employees seriously and get ahead of the problem before it becomes a problem.
3 Ways Employers Can Combat Workplace Stress
As devastating as workplace stress can be, there are several measures employers can take to combat or prevent it. The turbulent times of the pandemic taught leaders that it is vital to keep an open dialogue with employees about how they’re feeling to be aware of stress levels within the organization. Have regular meetings in which employees can voice their concerns. Then, create action plans to address these concerns.
As more and more employers develop an awareness around the impact of stress on employee health, they’ve also begun to implement corporate wellness programs within their organizations. By providing employees with resources to manage stress and take care of their minds and bodies, employers can support their team members’ needs in a more holistic manner.
Here are some of the ways wellness programs can benefit employees.
- Mind and movement: It’s no secret that what goes on in the mind and body is deeply connected. By providing employees with exercise classes, stress management resources, and nutrition information, employers will be taking care of them inside and out.
- Education (seminars): Taking the time to learn about wellness fundamentals such as energy optimization, goal setting, or productivity yields a major return on the investment of time. By carving out time to better educate themselves and their team, employers can greatly improve their organization’s overall performance.
- Coaching: Wellness coaching can be done in either a group or individual setting and gives employees the opportunity to ask personalized questions regarding their own health and wellbeing. By investing in wellness coaching, employers can lower their organization’s overall healthcare costs as well as reduce the number of sick days taken by employees.
The Bottom Line
Corporate wellness programs and other preventative measures can help employers manage stress before it starts to infiltrate their teams. Since employees are a company’s greatest asset, employers should invest in their people’s health and wellbeing as much as possible.
If you’re an employer ready to get ahead of stress and give your employees the best workplace environment possible, check out Arootah’s Corporate Wellness solutions to start working on a customized plan for your team.