Employers Know Workplace Stress Can Hurt Them

July 8, 2010 (PLANSPONSOR.com) – Employers in a recent poll said they were well aware of how much workplace stress can hurt their organizations and are moving to do something about it. 

A Buck Consultants news release said of the more than 250 attendees at a recent human resources conference who participated, 82 % said their health care costs are significantly or moderately impacted by worker stress. Some 79% report significant or moderate impact on absenteeism while 77% cite significant or moderate impact on workplace safety, according to Buck. 

Sixty-six percent of employers have implemented at least four programs to reduce stress, according to Buck. Twenty-two percent have established eight or more programs, and some make more than 10 programs available to their workers. Only 7% of survey respondents do not have any stress-reduction strategies in place.   

The resource most commonly used to address stress is an employee assistance program (EAP), implemented by 78% of survey respondents. Flexible work schedules are the next most cited strategy, offered by 63% of respondents.  

Rounding out the top 10 strategies are:  

  • Work/life balance support programs (46%), 
  • Leadership training on worker stress (45%), 
  • Online healthy lifestyle programs (45%),  
  • Onsite fitness centers (43%), 
  • Physical activity programs (38%), 
  • Stress awareness campaigns (35%), 
  • Financial management classes (30%),  
  • Personal health/lifestyle management coaching (29%). 

“Employers increasingly realize they must address the rising tide of employee stress, and not just to improve employees’ well-being,” said Barry Hall, principal at Buck Consultants. “Those who ignore stress will take a hit to their bottom line, in higher costs and lower productivity.” 

The “Stress in the Workplace” survey report is available at no cost from Buck’s Global Survey Resources, 500 Plaza Drive, Secaucus, NJ, 07096-1533. Telephone 1.800.887.0509. Buck surveys can be ordered online at www.bucksurveys.com.