The cost of workplace stress on your employees – and the solution

study reported by Harris Interactive a massive 80% of workers feel stress on the job, and an earlier survey by NIOSH showed that three-fourths believe that workers have more on-the-job stress than a generation ago. Workplace StressThese are significant numbers – and the trend suggests they’re only getting worse over time. According to the Harvard Business Review, although there’s an assumption that stress and pressure push employees to perform more, better, and faster, what cutthroat organizations fail to recognize is the hidden costs incurred. For example, health care expenditures at high-pressure companies are nearly 50% greater than at other organizations and 550 million workdays are lost each year due to stress on the job. In fact, a study of 3,000 employees conducted by the Karolinska Institute showed a strong correlation between leadership behavior and heart disease in employees. In addition to physical and mental health, stress can also lead to disengagement and disloyalty (both reducing the effectiveness and productivity levels of a workplace). Given that the average cost of replacing just one employee can be up to $60,000, employers should do everything they can to reduce employee stress (thereby reducing turnover).

What are companies doing to reduce stress?

Many companies attempt to do so via employee perks and benefits, according to the Harvard Business Review. All set up with the goal to create a positive work culture. It’s this positive culture that reduces stress and, thereby, reduces employee turnover. Creating a positive culture rests on a few major principles, as suggested by a study from the University of Michigan and HBR:
  • Caring for, being interested in, and maintaining responsibility for colleagues as friends
  • Providing support for one another, including offering kindness and compassion when others are struggling
  • Avoiding blame and forgive mistakes
  • Inspiring one another at work
  • Emphasizing the meaningfulness of the work
  • Treating one another with respect, gratitude, trust, and integrity
Foster these principles in your workplace, and your organization will reap the rewards. Summed up nicely by Emma Seppala, Science Director of Stanford University’s Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education: “A positive workplace is more successful over time because it increases positive emotions and well-being. This, in turn, improves people’s relationships with each other and amplifies their abilities and their creativity. It buffers against negative experiences such as stress, thus improving employees’ ability to bounce back from challenges and difficulties while bolstering their health.” Next time you see or hear of employees finding themselves in stressful situations, consider how you can foster a more positive work environment for your team.]]>

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