Worker stress levels have increased within the past few years as the economic downturn has led to layoffs, heavier workloads, a higher percentage of workers taking second jobs to make ends meet, and declining household incomes, due to family members’ lost wages.
In a recent “Stress in the Workplace” survey by Buck Consultants (www.buckconsultants.com), more than four in five participants (82%) reported that employee stress has a significant or moderate impact on their company’s healthcare costs. A large majority of respondents also said that stress has had a significant or moderate impact on absenteeism (79%) and on workplace safety (77%).
In response to rising employee stress levels, many employers are taking steps to help their workers manage stress. According to the Buck Consultants survey, 66% of participants have implemented four or more programs to reduce on-the-job stress, while 22% have at least eight programs in place.
The survey listed these Top 10 stress-reduction strategies:
- Employee assistance programs (78%)
- Flexible work schedules (63%)
- Work/life balance support programs (46%)
- Leadership training on worker stress (45%)
- Online healthy lifestyle programs (45%)
- On-site fitness centers (43%)
- Physical activity programs (38%)
- Stress awareness campaigns (35%)
- Financial management classes (32%)
- Personal health/lifestyle management coaching (29%)
The more effective these programs, the lower the stress on your workers – which adds up to higher productivity and a healthier return on investment.