An estimated 595,000 cases of work-related stress, depression, and anxiety were reported in Great Britain since 2017, with Westfield Health reporting a whopping 48% of the workforce feeling the ill effects. In addition, over 15.4 million working days were lost due to high-level stress in the workplace, according to a recent survey by the HSE. This is an all too familiar trend throughout the workforce as employees struggle to discover the secrets of balancing the ever-increasing demands of work and a healthy lifestyle.
Scientists and medical experts agree that the long-term effects of workplace stress can be devastating and can shorten the life-span of workers. A 2015 research paper by Harvard Business School claims that illnesses caused by work-related stressors are even a greater health threat than Alzheimers, diabetes, and influenza. So, how can we measure the long-term effects of stress in the workplace?
Identify the Hidden Health Issues
As the demands on workers increase, so does the amount of mental and physical stress induced on the body. We're all familiar with common symptoms such as headaches, muscle tension, sleep apnea, fatigue, and depression. If left untreated, this can lead to even greater health problems down the road, including hypertension and heart disease, among others. Work stressors can also lead to a major decline in productivity and end up delivering a serious financial blow to the company due to absent workers, low morale, and higher insurance rates.
However, one way to resolve this is to take the appropriate measures through better health awareness in the office. According to experts at Cerity, a comprehensive Return-To-Work program for employees is one powerful way companies can reduce claims costs and other expenses. Making the effort to keep employees healthy for the long term can have a positive impact as workers tend to feel more secure and less stressed when they are properly encouraged and supported.
Stop the Vicious Cycle
So how do we curb this devastating epidemic and turn this ship around? Employers can start by adopting stress reduction strategies for their managers and workers. Companies and small businesses should work closely with their insurance providers to come up with effective programs to decrease the amount of stress-related illnesses, thus protecting their business as well as their employees. Stress screenings and health programs that appropriately target stress, like break-time massages, mindful meditation, yoga, and Tai Chi are just a few ways of combating and easing the pressures the work environment often creates. Researchers also recommend counseling sessions and open communication projects to help diminish the high-stress levels of employees and the associated health costs for employers.
Listen to Your Body
Your body will signal you in various ways that you are too stressed from work. Some signs are more subtle than others, but the key is to recognize them and become proactive before a serious illness sets in. There are several things an individual can do to conquer workplace stress. A proper diet and natural nutritional supplements like herbs and sleeping remedies can all help you, as well as meditation, yoga, and exercise. Listen to your mind and body and stay in control of them. Do not let allow stress in your workplace to sabotage your health. Most importantly, don't miss out on the beauty life has to offer and spend your quality time stressed out from work. Communicate with your employer and seek professional help if needed.
The biggest defense is within yourself. Focus on taking care of your body, remain positive, and you will experience a change for a better workplace and within yourself.