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How to Promote a More Healthy and Productive Work Environment

Stress. We all experience it at different levels of intensity and we all have our own ways of coping with it. And while some research suggests that small doses of stress can actually be good for you and subsequently lead to increased productivity, the main body of evidence suggests that stress is taking a massive toll on our everyday lives.

In fact, the personal and business costs of stress are significant and consequently those organisations that establish pro-active measures to ‘de-stress’ their workforce will gain measurable improvements in staff productivity, satisfaction and retention.

In Australia, stress-related costs continue to increase at a steady rate. Dr Ted Emmett of WorkSafe Australia estimates the annual cost to Australian business of stress-related problems to be as high as $9 billion.

These costs include:

· Higher health insurance claims,
· More disability claims,
· Lost productivity,
· Higher rates of absenteeism,
· Greater staff turnover,
· Reduced job satisfaction,
· Decreased performance and low morale.

While the business costs of stress are high, so too are the personal costs that impact an individual’s health and well being. As such, strategies need to be developed at both an organisational and individual level for coping with the growing stress ‘epidemic’.

What Exactly Is Stress?

Stress can be defined as a physical and/or mental state of strain and tension. Stress endured for long periods can result in the body’s inability to adapt physiologically to a relaxed condition which in turn can lead to clinical depression. Although long-term stress has a very real negative impact on one’s health and productivity, short-term stress can actually act as a motivator to improve task performance. It is said that just the right amount of stress and intensity can inspire creative thinking, problem solving, or even improve relationships with others. Despite this, most of us try to limit or avoid stress altogether.

Experts attribute job stress to your sense of control over a situation or environment. Less control equals more stress. In the face of escalating work demands, an increasing number of people in today’s workforce feel overwhelmed and anxious – undermining their confidence and effectiveness.(1)

It is thought that the average person is subjected to 50-100 ‘stressor’ stimuli each day. This stimuli might range from a confrontation with a co-worker or peer, being caught in traffic, or nervousness about an upcoming meeting. The challenge, therefore, lies in our ability to understand how to effectively manage everyday stressful situations and prevent these situations from building into long-term feelings of stress. Danh gia Titan Gel

The Impact Of Stress – What The Studies Reveal: (2)

Research confirms that stress does play a major role in the modern workforce. Key findings have concluded that work place stress…
· Is costly. The total cost of workers compensation claims in Australia for stress- related conditions is estimated at over $200 million every year.
· Results in higher absenteeism. The 1997 ACTU (Australian Council of Trade Unions) National Survey on Stress at Work found that one in four Australians took time off work because of stress and concluded that workplace stress had now reached “epidemic proportions.”
· Is compounded by negative work environments. A study by psychologists Peter Cotton and Peter Hart analysed more than 100,000 Australian public and private sector employees regarding the relationship between stress and work environments. The study found that employees suffering from stress or sickness and that work in negative work environments were far more likely to take time off than those suffering from stress or sickness who work in positive workplaces with high staff morale.
· Is dangerous. It is estimated that 60 to 80 per cent of industrial accidents in the US are due to stress and that 40% of worker turnover is due to job stress.
· Is unhealthy. Between 70 to 90 per cent of employee hospital visits in the US are linked to stress and the American Medical Association has stated that stress was the cause of 80 to 85 percent of all human illness and disease. A separate study of work related stress in Japan showed that men who work 11 hours or more per day have a risk of heart attack that is 2.5 times that of men working an 8 hour day. Furthermore, a study in the UK exposed 266 people to a common cold virus and then tracked who became sick. 28.6 percent of those with few signs of stress caught the cold. However, the figure jumped to 42.4 percent for those who were under high stress.
· Is a growing problem. The American Institute for Occupational Health and Safety recently disclosed that the number of American workers who consider stress to be a major problem in their lives has more than doubled during the past ten years.

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