Job Stress Costs U.S. Businesses 10 Times More Than Strikes

by Bernie Dyme

According to the American Institute of Stress, job stress costs U.S. businesses “more than $300 billion annually due to increased absenteeism, employee turnover, diminished productivity, medical, legal and insurance expenses and Workers’ Compensation payments.”

That’s ten times the cost of all strikes combined, the organization says.

Even if, as an employer, you didn’t care about a ‘warm and fuzzy’ work environment, the dollar signs on this one can sure catch your attention.

Setting aside for a moment things like the emotional implications of stress, diminished productivity, turnover and absenteeism, the medical side effects of stress alone are hard to ignore.  Stress is proven to lead to increased rates of heart attack, hypertension and other disorders that are costly to treat and can lead to increased premiums for you and your entire employee population.

Creating a lower-stress work environment isn’t just healthier, it’s cheaper.

It’s also not solely about workload.  Job stress is often triggered by a lack of control, value and appreciation that employees perceive within their work environment.

There is no cookie-cutter solution for reducing workplace stress, but there are more and more examples of companies getting creative based on understanding their own employee base and finding things that work for them.

There are also consultants out there that can help you at the organizational level, with training at the supervisory level and with personal or individual issues at employee level.  In fact, you might already have one.

Employee assistance programs (EAPs) help employees with personal issues so that they can better focus at work.  In addition, many EAPs, like Perspectives, offer trainings and seminars around a wide range of workplace issues such as managing diverse teams, collaboration, and avoiding burn out.

In our case, we also offer organizational consulting services.  We help organizations understand what the fundamental causes behind the stress may be, and then work with them to tailor a solution that works for their specific workforce.

It does take time and effort to change your workplace culture, but the initial financial cost is almost nothing compared to business-as-usual in a high-stress environment.

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