Our global community has faced unprecedented stress over the last few months. Whether you transitioned to working from home, were met with an unforeseen furlough, or took on full-time childcare unexpectedly, it’s certainly been an adventure!
I can’t stress this enough: we were already under too much pressure.
According to the Mental Health Foundation’s 2018 study, 74% of people in the UK had felt so stressed in the past year that they had been overwhelmed or unable to cope. In 2019, the American Institute of Stress reported that 83% of U.S. workers suffer specifically from work-related stress. All of this was a serious problem well before the advent of COVID-19, and we can be sure that it won’t be diminished as the world works to recover from a global pandemic!
In over 25 years with Messina Group, I’ve seen firsthand how workplace pressure can impact performance — changing roles, shifting teams, tight budgets, and unpredictable resources are just some of the stressors in the struggle. Sometimes, it’s enough to chase talent right out the door and into a whole new job.
I’m going to lay out some of the facts here about current stress-based statistics and trending benefits, and then we’ll get into the good part: how to solve the problem in your own workplace.
Meet the Modern Employee Market
Today’s job market belongs to employees, and they’re looking to HR professionals for help in balancing workplace stress — and they want real-time benefits, too. In fact, a recent survey from OfficeTeam found that 73% of today’s workers are directly influenced by health and wellness perks when choosing a job.
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Gen Xers, in particular, are looking for a little relief. A Welltok survey from early this year indicated that 70% of Gen Xers think their companies should do more to support holistic health and manage stress. Over half of the survey respondents had “seriously considered” changing jobs because the pressure was too much.
Mental, behavioral, and emotional health support were called out explicitly in this year’s 2020 kickoff article from CNCBC for the “buzziest trends in workplace benefits.”
Dollars and Sense: Stress vs. Your Bottom Line
In working with talent, it’s always a top priority to make sure people are happy. But the stress epidemic is hurting our workplaces on a much larger scale: it’s taking a chunk out of the bottom line. Just take a look at these statistics compiled by the American Institute of Stress:
What Can Today’s HR Do?
Now is the time to be strategic, decisive, and forward-thinking. How can we inspire and support our teams? What tools can help them to combat stress in a productive, positive way?
By integrating strategies and support for stressful days from the beginning, we set up our teams to address problems as soon as they arise. We can all work to mitigate stresses before they become too serious — and no one has to lose any sleep.
A previous version of this article was published on TLNT in February of 2020.