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Prevent Stress from Hurting Your Bottom Line

Published Thursday May 31, 2018

Author Allison Andrews

Prevent Stress from Hurting Your Bottom Line

If you think your list of business goals for the year is complete, think again. You may want to consider adding, “manage employee stress” to that list.

Stress experienced in and outside of work can limit creativity, mental focus and problem solving and create disease in the mind and body; in turn, impeding employees from achieving their goals and operating at their best.

In short, stress reduces productivity. While some level of urgency is healthy, feeling overwhelmed and anxious on a regular basis can affect an employee’s capacity to work on a variety of levels, hindering performance, motivation, self-esteem and overall job/life satisfaction.

Stressed employees can affect the overall success of your organization. According to the American Institute of Stress, $300 billion is spent annually on job stress-related health care costs in the United States. Additionally, 80 percent of employees say they have stress on the job, and nearly half of employees say they need help learning how to manage their stress.

Managing Stress
There are small changes employers can implement that will have lasting influence in helping employees manage stress.

First and foremost, it starts at the top. If an organization is trying to create a culture that supports the well-being and productivity of employees, the example must be set from the top of the organization all the way down in order for systemic change to take effect. Consider starting by answering this question: Does your company provide employees with resources and time to prioritize their well-being and mitigate stress during the workday?

Organizations across the region are taking note of the need to shift workplace culture to support rather than hinder employee well-being. One strategy being widely used by employers is implementing a wellness program that provides employees with resources to achieve personal goals and emphasizes the importance of work-life integration.

The term “wellness” is focused on quality of life and satisfaction within various aspects of a person’s life. Effective workplace wellness programs focus on helping employees be happier, healthier and more fulfilled people in every aspect of their lives.

Many employers are providing employees with support to learn how to manage their stress and become more effective in their jobs, such as offering access to an onsite health or life coach and providing onsite mindfulness and stress education programs.

One stress management strategy that often gets overlooked is encouraging employees to set personal and professional goals that excite and engage them and providing them with the support and resources to take action on these goals.

When we have clear goals and vision, it creates healthy tension and urgency—the good kind of stress that gets us out of bed in the morning.

Additionally, being proactive about asking your team if they have the tools they need to do their best work can go a long way in reducing unnecessary stress. This goes a long way to show employees that they are valued.

Taking time to build relationships with your team is crucial to creating a viable workplace culture. If employees do not feel like they can confront their supervisor with a problem or mistake, this can be a source of stress and can limit creativity and executive-order thinking, as well as result in more time lost.

Getting employees excited about what they want to accomplish and holding them accountable for achieving their goals will create lasting change as they begin to have more enthusiasm for their work.

Creating a work environment that supports healthy stress levels and builds enthusiasm will have lasting benefits for organizations, including increased employee retention, satisfaction and productivity, as well as have a positive effect on the workplace culture. These factors are vital in helping an organization become more competitive.

Allison Andrews is the founder and program director of OmBody Health in Portland, Maine, which develops and implements holistic wellness programs. She can be reached at

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