Stress, called the “health epidemic of the 21st century” by the World Health Organization, costs American businesses up to $300 billion a year,
According to “Stressed at Work,” a recent research report by Benzinger, Dupont &Associates, stress impacts work performance in nearly half (49%) of employees surveyed. Difficulties in concentration, absenteeism, and poor work quality are leading the way.
Differences by gender or age can be significant.. Personal problems cause females to be absent from work more often, but males tend to miss more days of work. The frequency of disciplinary action for stress-related acts by males was almost twice as high as for women; with the 56-65 year-old age group having the highest disciplinary rates
The good news: More than nine in ten employees (94%) report improved work performance following participation in an Employee Assistance Program (EAP). The study recommends that companies work with their EAP in identifying and addressing the needs of workers, who are more vulnerable to stress, so they can prevent potential problems becoming serious. These programs and promotion campaigns should consider differences in gender and age. For example:
- Managers need to pay attention to female absenteeism because it might reflect stress at home and/or at work.
- To decrease male disciplinary actions, EAP support and wellness programs should focus on the specific needs of men in the workforce, and use promotional outreach methods that reflect male preferences for brevity (e-mail and text messages).
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