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The high price of employee stress: stress on the job costs employees and employers.

Estimates are that stress costs businesses $300 billion a year. Stress is becoming a serious problem for American employers, but the ones paying the highest price are the employees.

The American Psychological Association (APA) Center for Organizational Excellence finds that one-third of working Americans are currently experiencing chronic stress from work, but only 36 percent said their organization provides sufficient resources to help them manage that stress.


The causes of stress in the workplace vary from industry to industry, but common denominators include low salaries, excessive workloads, few opportunities for growth or advancement, lack of social support, conflicting demands or unclear performance expectations, and not having sufficient control over job-related decisions.

While some argue that stress in the workplace can increase efficacy, it becomes a problem when the stress becomes chronic.

Chronic stress is a problem for people who are particularly bad at separating their work and personal lives. They bring stress home with them in the form of a smartphone, which results in constant pressure to respond to emails outside of hours, causing employees to multitask in a way which is unnatural for the brain.

Greater speed and the always-on lifestyle have led to an inverse ability for our brains to process information and thus a corresponding increase in national stress levels.


U.S. workers put in more hours on the job than the labor force of any other industrial nation, where the trend has been just the opposite, according to the American Institute of Stress (AIS). The $300 billion that U.S industries pay annually as a result of stress comes from accidents, absenteeism, employee turnover, diminished productivity, and direct medical, legal, and insurance costs.


This can be done by fostering an environment where management carefully considers how they delegate work and offers useful feedback.

Happy employees give the organization and company a positive image and reputation, which is crucial for their business. Social media sites, such as Twitter and LinkedIn, are commonly used by job seekers to find out what current employees think, and (maybe more importantly) feel, about the company.


Companies have tried various methods to tackle the stress problem.

In Europe, one successful attempt was recently carried out by an Italian textile company, who realized that constant communication and the pressure to respond to emails quickly were one of the main causes of stress.

As a result, they banned internal work emails for a week as an experiment. What they found was that with limited access to emails, employees experienced significantly lower stress.

The company concluded, "These findings highlight the benefits of checking emails less frequently to reduc psychological stress. Lower stress, in turn, predicted higher well-being on a diverse range of well-being outcomes."

Bryan Richards, managing partner at health and safety consultants Arinite, has expressed concerns about the increasing stress at work: "It is important to remember that employers have a legal duty of care towards their employees. The modern way of working in an office is fast and constant. If uncontrolled, this can result in excessive physical and mental pressure leading to stress related ill health, which is harmful for the business and the employee. All businesses should have a health and safety policy implemented." "Mental health was not considered in the past as it is today," Richards says. "The cause of 'nervous breakdowns' in the past were often considered to be a weakness in the individual, rather than a fault of management and working procedures."

If you feel that limited access to emails could reduce stress in your workplace, it's worth a try. Regardless of whether it would work is another question, but the importance of reducing stress is definite: As predicted in a recent article titled "5 HR trends in 2016, "competition for workers, demand for flexible benefits and pressure for more productive and healthier workers" is something future employers simply have to consider.

36% of respondents said their organization provides sufficient resources to help them manage stress


Estimated annual cost to businesses caused by stress.

A health and safety policy should do the following:

* recognize the need to assess work activities that may be deemed more stressful, so that an action plan to minimize the risk and effects of stress can be implemented;

* give management commitment to encouraging a supportive culture where colleagues assist each other to ease peaks in workload;

* incorporate procedures to include ensuring that staff are properly resourced and trained to undertake their roles and that the personnel selection process matches individuals to the demands of each job function.

HR U.S. workers put in more hours on the job than the labor force of any other industrial nation

1/3 of working Americans are currently experiencing chronic stress from work


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Title Annotation:HR: workplace stress
Author:Naess, Sunniva
Publication:Benefits Selling
Date:Mar 1, 2016
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