Help Your People, Help Your Profits: Fighting Stress at Work

Stress isn't just bad for your employees, it's bad for your businessFew people, except maybe the masochistic or pathologically macho, enjoy stress, but some may believe that stress is necessary, even beneficial, to a company’s success. Well, recent research published by the Gallup Press shows that stress isn’t just unhealthy for individual workers, it’s unhealthy for a company’s finances.

In Wellbeing: The Five Essential Elements, researchers Tom Rath and Dr. James K. Harter discovered that worker happiness and engagement can have a major financial impact. Among the least happy and least engaged employees, the annual per-person cost of lost productivity due to sick days is upward of $28,000, while the sick-day lost-productivity cost among the happiest and most engaged workers is only $840 a year.

If you’d like to save tens of thousands of dollars per year per employee by reducing stress, you can start by increasing two primary aspects of employee engagement: a sense of control over their work and careers, and a sense of appreciation and fun.

Increasing employees’ control over their work doesn’t mean handing the keys over completely. It means letting them know how their jobs fit into the company’s overall mission and giving them some say in how their work supports that mission. Having your employees co-create their goals with you and giving them encouragement and support in meeting those goals can increase engagement tremendously.

Similarly, allowing employees to have some control over how they approach their work tasks can help them make the most of their personal energy peaks during the day. Giving them some flexibility over where and when they work, where appropriate, can alleviate stresses caused by traffic and conflicting family schedules.

Workers also benefit from having development and education programs to help them learn and grow in their careers. And these programs don’t just benefit employees; as they learn more, they become more valuable assets to the company.

Cultivate a sense of appreciation and fun by recognizing your employees’ accomplishments and rewarding them through a combination of planned events and spontaneous rewards. You don’t have to schedule an awards banquet whenever a worker does a good job on a minor project, but a hand-written note and a gift card will help them feel valued (and invested in doing well on all future projects).

And if your employees are stressed because their workloads have expanded while your full-time headcount has remained the same or even decreased, contact Reliance to learn about our contingent workforce solutions. We can expand your workforce for as long as you need additional help, while saving you the time, cost, effort and stress of recruiting and hiring. Contact our closest office to learn more.

What benefits have you seen from introducing a stress-busting program into your workplace? Let us know in the comments!

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