What Stress is Really Doing to Your Employees — And How to Stop It
Stress is a part of everyday life; it isn’t a bad thing.
Self-care has been part of history since ancient Greece, and recently, it has made a huge comeback.
Sure, we can say self-care never disappeared entirely, but what’s important to note is that over the last few years, younger generations have reported spending twice as much on self-care essentials than baby boomers.1
The World Health Organization defines self-care as “personal health maintenance to improve or restore health and to treat preventative diseases.”2 This includes spending on workout regimens, diet planning, life coaching, therapy, and apps to improve personal well-being.
Put simply, employers should be extremely in-tune with the growth of the self-care industry because more and more young employees feel that self-care is essential to their overall health.
And we know happy, healthy employees are more productive, more likely to better serve their clients, and less costly to their employers.
Research shows self-care fosters higher employee engagement, 3 and companies with a highly engaged workforce outperform their peers by 147%.4
Yoga sessions in the office, meditation classes, or access to gyms typically come to mind when we think of self-care at work, but busy schedules don’t always permit employees to take the time during their days to do these things.
There are solutions to that. Have you ever thought of something as convenient as a self-care manual? If not, it’s something to consider.
Self-care manuals include everything from the definition of self-care and the reasons for practicing it, to resources, tips, and encouragement to help employees start making healthier choices.
One employer who offered self-care manuals to employees that encouraged the use of over-the-counter medicines for common health problems saved between $1 million and $2 million annually (excluding savings from reduced presenteeism) for more than 10 years.2
That’s an enormous costs savings! Of course, we encourage all employers to determine what’s best for their employees and make the right decisions in educating employees through appropriate information.
There are numerous ways to make self-care a priority in your workplace without it becoming just another task.
“Leaders need to prioritize self-care not just for their own good, but their organization and their ability to attract and retain talent.”5
Committing to the well-being of your employees starts with creating a culture that fosters healthy behaviors. To do this, leadership within the company must be dedicated to embedding healthy behaviors in their daily life while at work.
If a leader in the organization doesn’t practice self-care, employees are unlikely to make it a priority for themselves.5 What’s more, wellness programs don’t work unless your organization creates a culture where it is accepted and encouraged to practice self-care throughout the day.
Leaders who are able to inspire employees, be kind to them, and encourage them to take care of themselves will have more than just luck finding and retaining talented, hard-working people.
Both turnover and burnout plague every organization. Key symptoms of burnout include emotional exhaustion, disengagement from work-related activities, and decreased performance at work and at home. Unsurprisingly, all of these are factors that influence an employee’s decision to quit their job which is costly for employers.
In today’s world, high turnover can cost anywhere from 60 to 200% of an employee’s annual salary.6
Incorporating self-care into a wellness program is a powerful way to avoid burnout and turnover expenses.
Organizations that recognize this and actively embed self-care in their policies and practices. At the same time, they are setting their employees up for success by offering them methods to overcome stress. For example, methods often include resilience training, tools to identify stress levels, and adding policies to the workplace that allow employees flexibility, encouragement to get up and walk or relax, and opportunities to build relationships with other employees.
Determine the reasons employees feel disengaged. You can do this through an anonymous survey or by having one-on-one conversations with employees
Acknowledge the changing needs of both younger employees and older employees.
Review your current wellness plan. If you don’t already have one in place, you can put together a committee willing to create a plan.
Decide on the best way forward to start making self-care a priority in your workplace. Not every organization is the same, and not all employees have the same needs. Remember to consider what’s best for your people and your workplace.
Actively promote and live out the self-care strategies you’ve agreed on to make your organization an employer of choice!
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