Stress is the responses our bodies and minds have to the demands placed on them. It is a normal part of life and a normal part of our work environment. But how much does stress affect the employee and business?
The World Health Organization once labeled stress a “workplace epidemic”. Today, stress in the workplace costs American companies more than $400 billion annually from health costs and absenteeism to poor performance. While a normal level of stress can be beneficial in some cases, stress-overload can lead to a variety of problems, including insomnia, migraines, declining relationships and poor concentration, not to mention the numerous physical ailments it eventually causes.
Fortunately, today nearly 50% of America’s large companies provide their employees with stress management training, but there is still a long way to go. Companies that do not have such programs for their employees should understand that lasting stress reduction is often brought about by institutional changes, and that often begins with managers improving communication with employees, allowing workers to take part in decisions that affect their jobs while also offering incentives and cultivating an honest, friendly and professional social climate in which to work.