Stress is the ultimate disruptor. It wreaks havoc on performance, productivity, and employee engagement. It can lead to health-related problems such as sleeplessness and higher blood pressure. Experiencing personal problems or psychological issues such as anger, anxiety and depression? That'd be stress having a heyday.
Stress doesn't just affect the body and mind, it also costs organisations billions in financial terms. According to research by Eastern Kentucky University, around $300 billion is spent by organisations on health care and for missed days of work due to workplace stress.2
While it's clear that stress is unavoidable, it's also true that an optimal amount of stress is helpful to be motivated and efficient at work. Then there's the fact that everyone reacts differently to it. Situations that are no big deal to one person, can raise another's stress levels.
Managing and responding to stress is just like any other on-the-job skill, it needs to be taught and developed. One-off stress management programmes (the typical lifesaver used to date) no longer do the trick. The most competent lifeguards in the workplace today include savvy CEOs and HR managers that recognise the importance of including stress as a ever-present topic in their health and wellbeing strategy.
Programmes with a comprehensive and preventative approach are the most sought after. Wellbeing solutions that include personalised aspects, such as considering employees' lifestyle habits (how they move, eat and sleep) and their effects on stress and capacity are also rising in popularity.
By proactively keeping stress at bay and making healthy habits an everyday priority, organisations can prevent employee burnout without sacrificing motivation and productivity. The mantra "prevention is better than cure" needs to be top of mind. For a company lifeguard, it's much easier to continuously to keep a watchful eye over happy, healthy workers than having to throw in an emergency lifebuoy.