By now, you’re familiar with the concept of employee wellbeing, which is the HR management tactic that focuses on the health and happiness of your workers. It’s a holistic concept that encompasses employees’ physical, mental, and emotional state of while at work. Making the decision to invest in your employees’ wellbeing is a strategic move that may very well have a big impact on your organization’s success in the future.
This guide is aimed at employers who’d want to invest in employee wellbeing. Ahead, we will review not only the connection between employee well-being and productivity, but also some accompanying stress reduction strategies. You’ll additionally discover the benefits of maintaining a work-life balance, as well as the role of employee assistance programs in facilitating workplace wellbeing.
Understanding the Impact of Stress on Employees
In modern-day work environments, stress is a widespread issue. It has become a natural response to challenges that come from unfavorable workloads, deadlines, or workplace conflicts.
Unfortunately, the trend is not slowing down. We’ve seen job-related stress rising exponentially in recent years, especially among Americans. A staggering 85% of U.S. workers say they are experiencing work-related stress.
The consequences can be dire for both employees and their employers. Stress not only compromises productivity and staff retention, but also increases training and recruitment costs.
Further, for the 25% of Americans who say work is the top stressor in their lives, the situation is even more severe. They often struggle with physical complications like headaches, stomach problems, and high blood pressure. In some cases, chronic stress even triggers mental health issues like anxiety, depression, and burnout.
On quantifying all the resultant costs incurred from absenteeism, healthcare, and productivity dip, the University of Massachusetts at Lowell claims that American employers lose about $300 billion each year.
Benefits of Supporting Employee Well-being
Investing in employee well-being can lead to numerous benefits for both the employee and the organization. Some of the gains you’ll be seeing include:
#1. Improved employee morale and job satisfaction
Investing in employee well-being is a great way for organizations to boost employee satisfaction and morale.
When employees feel supported and appreciated, they are more likely to have a positive outlook on their job and work environment. This can result in a rise in employee motivation and engagement.
#2. Increased employee retention and productivity
When employers prioritize employee well-being, they demonstrate that they value their workforce. As a result, employees are more likely to remain with the company, which then translates to higher rates of employee retention.
When employees feel greater job satisfaction, they can be more motivated to put forth their best effort which can result in a higher goal completion rate for the company overall.
#3. Reduced healthcare costs
Prolonged stress can lead to physical and mental health concerns which, in turn, increases healthcare costs.
Stressed employees may experience headaches, digestive problems, or high blood pressure. Intense stress can also lead to mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, and burnout. These conditions can be much more serious in those suffering from chronic stress and may lead to heart disease or stroke, or exacerbate other existing health conditions.
Treating all these complications is costly. Implementing strategies to reduce stress and promote well-being can reduce medical expenses
#4. Positive impact on company culture and reputation
When companies invest in their employees’ well-being, they demonstrate that they value their workforce and care about their physical and mental health. This can enhance the company’s image, making it more attractive to prospective employees and clients alike.
Strategies for Reducing Employee Stress
Employers can take several steps to reduce employee stress and promote well-being in the workplace. These strategies include:
#1. Promoting a positive work environment
Creating a supportive work environment will not only make employees feel valued, but also reduce their stress levels.
You can achieve this by promoting teamwork, providing comfortable and ergonomic workspaces, and recognizing employees’ accomplishments.
#2. Encouraging open communication
Effective communication between employees and management can foster a cooperative work culture. Employers should encourage open dialogue, as well as provide channels for employees to express their concerns and offer feedback.
#3. Offering stress-management training
Employers may offer training and resources to help employees manage stress and improve their well-being. This can include mindfulness training, time-management workshops, and counseling services.
#4. Implementing time management strategies
Effective time management can reduce stress levels. To help reduce stress, employers can provide resources that help employees prioritize their tasks, delegate work, and minimize distractions.
#5. Encourage wellness breaks at work
Employers could allow employees to take short wellness breaks during the day, encouraging them to practice relaxation techniques to relax and reduce stress. This can be done by providing quiet spaces for meditation or yoga, access to massage or acupuncture services, and an area stocked with healthy snacks or beverages.
Maintaining Work-Life Balance
Maintaining a balance between work and personal life is important for employees and employers alike. Work-life balance is defined as the state of equilibrium between an employee’s work and personal life – where they have enough time for work, family, friends, hobbies, and other activities.
A good work-life balance can lower employee stress levels, increase job satisfaction, and lead to improved physical and mental health. Employers then stand to gain from the subsequent rise in productivity and employee retention.
On the other hand, a poor work-life balance can lead to increased stress levels and burnout, physical and mental health issues, plus decreased productivity. The resultant negative consequences could be profound for both employees and employers.
Studies have, in fact, shown that many workers struggle to find a balance between work and life. As many as 23% of office workers and 29% of remote employees admit that work interferes with their personal and family time.
To mitigate the problem, employers may want to consider implementing a flex-time policy, allowing telecommuting, offering job sharing and part-time opportunities, and other strategies that allow employees to create ways to balance their home and family responsibilities with their work duties.
The results may just be a more positive and productive work environment, greater employee satisfaction, and less burnout.
Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs)
Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) are a valuable tool for promoting employee well-being in the workplace. These employer-sponsored programs are designed to help employees address personal or work-related issues that may be impacting their job performance, quality of life, or overall well-being.
Employers have several options when it comes to setting up an EAP. Some large employers set up an in-house program while others contract the service out with a third party. Services are typically delivered to employees via phone, online, or in-person counseling sessions.
An EAPs might include
- Counseling and mental health services: Employees can access therapists, counselors, and mental health professionals who help employees overcome personal problems like anxiety, depression, and substance abuse.
- Health and wellness programs: Employees are offered resources and support to help maintain a healthy lifestyle. Examples include fitness classes, nutrition counseling, and smoking cessation programs.
- Stress management programs: Employees can get help with techniques (like meditation classes and mindfulness training) to manage stress and improve their overall well-being.
- Work-life balance programs: These programs are built to help employees balance their work and personal lives. They may include time management initiatives, or flexible work arrangements such as telecommuting and hybrid job schedules.
- Employee training and development: Employees can access workshops, coaching sessions, and seminars to enhance their skills and, by doing so, advance their careers.
To successfully implement an EAP, you need a well-planned strategy and consistent communication with employees.
For instance, organizations might incorporate EAP information into employee onboarding materials, provide regular training to managers, and distribute programs through digital channels – such as email newsletters and company intranets.
Aspen HR offers a free EAP program for all of our PEO clients as part of a comprehensive employee benefits package. Our team of HR experts will design and implement a system that perfectly meets the needs of your organization and its employees.
Contact us today to get started supporting the well-being of your employees through an effective EAP.