Workplace stress is one of the top concerns we hear from our Sequoia clients. This is not a surprise. In Sequoia’s 2018-2019 Employee Experience Benchmarking Report, companies reported burnout and work-life balance as the number one issue facing employees. According to a recent survey conducted by the Korn Ferry Institute, “nearly two-thirds of professionals say their stress levels at work are higher than they were five years ago”. This stress has a major impact on multiple aspects of their wellbeing. The survey found that:
- 76% of respondents say stress at work has had a negative impact on their personal relationships,
- 66% says they have lost sleep due to work stress and,
- 16% say they have quit a job due to stress.
It goes without saying that stress at work can have a “trickle-down” effect on the lives of employees. However, it’s important to note that not all stress is bad for us. Certain levels of stress can make us more productive by motivating and inspiring us, while chronic and major stressors can have a more debilitating effect on us. Every individual has the ability to define whether a stressor is mild or major. It all comes down to how we perceive the stressor and our ability to manage it.
This is where stress management skills become so essential in the workplace. While some stress is inevitable at work, there is a level of influence an employer has over changing the environment and providing the tools for employees to prioritize their wellness. Below are just a few of the ways employers can help their employees manage their stress:
- Manager training: offer training courses for managers to recognize stress, have meaningful conversations with their direct reports, and understand the importance of employee wellbeing.
- Educate about resources: Be sure your employees know of the available mental wellbeing resources available to them (such as an EAP) and consider enhancing those offerings with a 3rd party vendor. You can view our preferred partners through Sequoia’s wellbeing portal (Sequoia clients: to gain access to our wellbeing portal, please reach out to your client service manager).
- Provide opportunities to exercise: Exercise has been proven many times over to help reduce stress. Allow flexible scheduling to attend the gym or a fitness class or hire a vendor to manage your on-site fitness program.
It is important for employers to recognize that they are responsible for influencing the culture. And that culture has a direct effect on their employee’s wellbeing. By doing so, they have an opportunity to greatly reduce the impact of stress on their organization and improve their employees’ wellbeing, coping skills and health status.