The World Health Organization has labeled stress as a “World Wide Epidemic.” (click or scroll to read more...)
The World Health Organization has labeled stress as a “World Wide Epidemic.” Doctors and professors have tried to quantify the actual dollars associated with the loss of productivity due to stress. The numbers have ranged from $190 Billion to $300 Billion. The truth is Americans are working longer and harder.
U.S. workers put in more hours on the job than the labor force of any other industrial nation, where the trend has been just the opposite. According to an International Labor Organization study, Americans put in the equivalent of an extra 40-hour work week in 2000 compared to ten years previously. Japan had the record until around 1995, but Americans now work almost a month more than the Japanese and three months more than Germans.
“What we’re seeing is that people are working longer hours, and there’s less boundaries between work and personal life because of technology. Even when people go on vacation, a large percentage of them check in with work.”, says Dr. Emma Seppälä, scientific director of Stanford’s Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education and author of The Happiness Track as reported by the Huffingtonpost.
The underlining problem is that we no longer work to live, but live to work. “The boundaries are so blurred that work and life have become one in the same,” according to Dr. Emma Seppälä.
Companies continue to suffer because of job related stress as a result of accidents, absenteeism, employee turnover, diminished productivity, and direct medical, legal, and insurance cost.
Absenteeism due to job stress has escalated. According to a survey of 800,000 workers in over 300 companies, the number of employees calling in sick because of stress tripled from 1996 to 2000. An estimated 1 million workers are absent every day due to stress. The European Agency for Safety and Health at Work reported that over half of the 550 million working days lost annually in the U.S. from absenteeism are stress related and that one in five of all last minute no-shows are due to job stress. Unanticipated absenteeism is estimated to cost American companies $602.00/worker/year and the price tag for large employers could approach $3.5 million annually. (source - http://www.stress.org/workplace-stress/)
While, we can continue to provide articles emphasizing just how bad the situation is, the real question is what can be done? Organizations provide token solutions, but the reality is most organizations do not offer true solutions. Why? Because they are looking at the problem incorrectly only focusing on the individual employee. It's not about another seminar. It's not about company sponsored functions. It's not about more time off or higher wages. It's about the unreasonable workload per employee.
Without the correct strategy employees suffer. Meaningless activities become the standard. John Wooden said it correct, “Don't mistake activity with achievement.” With all the competing priorities that drive organizations especially Wall Street expectations, it's easy for executives to loss their focus.
Stress management, as currently defined by The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), has a limited role in reducing organization stress because no effort is made to remove or reduce sources of stress at work. Focusing on the individual as the prime target for organization intervention creates a dilemma of ‘blaming the victim.’ A more appropriate application of stress management would be as a complement to job redesign or organizational change interventions.”
As you can see by exploring the concepts of our website, we believe that by managing stress, an executive will create strategies that will allow their organization to be more focused on the activities that drive results. We fully believe in the Pareto principle (also known as the 80/20 rule), which states that roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes. In truth, while this sounds easy, it takes discipline and executives that have master the complexities created by working in a modern day stressful environment to truly be effective in the execution of Pareto's Law.