Protecting the mental, emotional, and physical health of an employee has become a standard in today’s workplace. No longer is protecting a worker from only physical danger adequate; your business may have an ethical responsibility to look after the mental and emotional health of its human capital, and in some cases law may require it. Taking steps to foster “big picture” wellness at all levels of the organization may also have a positive impact on the bottom line. Organizations that use programs to cultivate employee satisfaction and efficacy, for example, experience less turnover, fewer training costs, and greater long-term productivity. In an effort to reap these benefits, organizations are now developing internal programs to reduce mental and emotional stress at work. Every program is as unique as the organization that wishes to implement it, yet each is created from an assessment of the workplace. This assessment creates a framework from which your organization’s stress prevention program may be built.
Benefits of Reducing Stress at Work
There are many benefits to proactively reducing stress at work. These are a few examples that your organization may want to use as goals for the program:
1. Increased employee satisfaction. Fostering and promoting wellness in the workplace shows employees that management cares about their mental and phsycial health.
2. Reduced employee turnover. While these programs improve employee satisfaction in the short term, they may also reduce employee turnover in the long run. Employees are more likely to stay with an employer whom they feel protects their best interests. This is particularly important for firms with highly valued human capital, as employees with more valuable skill sets are more likely to find a better job alternative and “turn over.”
3. Minimize costs. Reducing employee turnover is just one way in which a stress prevention program may lead to cost savings. These programs may also lead to lower accident rates, lower insurance premiums, and better levels of productivity overall.
Developing Your Program: What to Expect
As with the creation of any new in-house program, effectively developing and implementing a stress prevention program is not without its challenges. The program typically encompasses all aspects of a business—from raw materials acquisition to production to sales, and everything in between. Not surprising, the development and implementation of the program requires cooperation from all levels of the organization. Owners must communicate the need for the program, upper-level management must lead by example, and everyone must participate in giving feedback.
The Good News: The need for stress prevention programs at work is growing. You may be surprising with the enthusiasm with which members of your organization agree to and participate in such a program.
Join the Eagle Mat Blog for a Follow-up Next Week
Be sure to join us next week for the follow-up to this article, Stress Prevention, Part II: Creating & Implementing Your Plan. In Part II of this two-part series, we will explore the best ways to put a stress prevention plan into action. We will focus on communicating the need for the program as well as ways to gather employee feedback in the most efficient ways possible.
Here’s a preview of what to expect:
1. Four steps to creating your stress management program.
2. Keys to gaining the support and enthusiasm of your organization.
3. Specific commercial floor mats and other safety products that will help you meet your goals.