“Stress” and “burnout” are two buzzwords in the workplace, but many of us don’t realize how they affect our physical, mental, and emotional well-being. The majority of us are unaware of the financial impact of stress and burnout on the companies we work for. Organizations in the United States spend nearly $300 billion annually on health care and missed workdays as a result of workplace stress.
That’s a huge annual cost of stress and expenditure for an employer to bear. When broken down, that corresponds to about $2,000 per employed person. However, data may indicate that this already huge figure is significantly greater in professional fields like law, health, and accounting.
Stress has obvious expenses, such as sick days and health-care costs, but the indirect cost of stress is likely to be considerably higher. Other stress-related hidden costs have a big impact on your company’s bottom line and, most likely, your annual remuneration.
Unresolved stress can negatively impact health
The majority of us are familiar with the sensation of stress. Our body can stiffen up, lose (or gain) weight, experience headaches, and a variety of other things. But that’s only the start. You may be experiencing the direct impact of stress on your mental and physical health if you’re currently struggling with any of the concerns listed below:
- Cravings for caffeine or sugar
- Gas or constipation
- Menstrual periods that are irregular
- Mood swings that are extreme
- Anger, rivalry, and envy
- Acne in adults
And there are plenty more factors that are related to the cost of stress.
There are many opportunities companies can take advantage of in order to reduce stress and therefore increase productivity. Some suggestions include:
Encouraging wellness in the workplace
This can be done by suggesting walks throughout the workday. It has been said that after 120 minutes of working on a task you are no longer at your peak performance. Suggest periodic walks and breaks throughout the day. Providing nutritious snacks and making water easily accessible are other great ways to encourage wellness.
Allow flexible work hours and time off
It may seem counterintuitive to allow flexibility when trying to adhere to certain metrics but research has shown it’s more beneficial for the employees, their families, and the company in the long run. Yes, sometimes less work may get done at that moment but allowing flexibility will pay off tenfold. Having strict schedules and little to no time off options increases stress tremendously. That is why, if you’re trying to reduce stress, flexibility is crucial.
Provide onsite or off-site counseling
Many organizations have also started offering therapy to employees as a means to help them cope with stress; according to a recent study, over half of employees felt they required assistance learning how to deal with the challenges of their jobs. This method, which can be used in or out of the workplace, in groups, or individually, can help the employee prepare for the stress that will inevitably come their way.
Promote team building
Employees spend a significant amount of time together, and the more at ease they are, the less stressed they will be. Expectations and communication barriers are broken down when coworkers get to know one another, oiling the wheels for future interactions and support. Promoting comradeship can also create amazing support systems throughout the company.