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Employee Stress Is Probably Costing You More Than You Realize

Just about everyone has heard horror stories about how stressed the American worker is.  If you’re a business owner, perhaps you believe that your employees are exempt.  That stress doesn’t impact them because, after all, you’ve created a great company and an exceptional work environment, right?

Unfortunately, the numbers don’t lie, and your employees are almost certainly more stressed out than you realize.  According to the latest data, here’s a snapshot of stress and how it impacts our nation’s workforce:

Scope and Scale

The first thing to understand about the issue is just how vast it is.  A staggering 76% of American adults cite the workplace as the leading contributor of their stress.  On top of that, according to the latest statistics, stress costs a whopping $300 billion dollars, every year due to sick days and the cost of treating illnesses and conditions arising from stress.

Physical, Mental and Interpersonal Problems

It’s just merely that stress causes people mental anguish.  That’s certainly a part of the equation, but stress also has a physical dimension, with fully 77% of employees reporting at least one physical symptom caused by stress.

Worse, more than half of all employees (54%) report that stress has caused them to fight with friends, family and loved ones.

A Host Of Other Issues

In addition to that, nearly half of all employees (48%) report reduce sleep—both quality and quantity—due to stress and 33% of employees report that they feel they are living with extreme stress.

Perhaps worst of all are the facts that 87% of employees report feeling emotionally disconnected and 60% say they are so unhappy due to stress that they’re giving serious consideration to quitting their current jobs.

What You Can Do About It

All of the above constitutes the bad news, and as you can see, there’s plenty of it.  Fortunately, stress isn’t an insurmountable problem and there are a number of things you can do for your employees, and others that they can do for themselves to help reduce stress and mitigate its worst effects.

The first and easiest recommendation on this front is mobility.  Encourage your employees to get up and move around at regular intervals.  Sitting at a desk all day in essentially the same position is bad for your mind, body and soul.  A ten or fifteen minute walking break a couple of times a day will do wonders.

Even better, research has indicated that walking around in a natural setting, even for as little as fifteen minutes, can reduce your cortisol level by 50% (cortisol being the so called “stress hormone”).  That’s huge, so if there’s a park or some type of wooded area near your workplace, that should be your go to spot for walking.

In addition to that, encourage your employees to listen to music while they work.  That may not always be possible depending on exactly what your employees are doing for you, but when it is possible, music has almost magical qualities and can go a long way toward reducing stress.

Then there are other things like visualization, breathing exercises, stress balls and the like.

The bottom line is that there’s no one magic bullet solution to the stress problem, but the ideas presented here can be mixed and matched to create a solution perfectly tailored to your employees.