Employee productivity is directly related to health and wellbeing. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, productivity losses related to personal and family health problems cost U.S. employers $1,685 per employee per year or $225.8 billion annually. A stressed, overwhelmed employee will have problems remembering where files are, focusing on a task or concentrating in meetings. Motivation, engagement and work satisfaction are diminished. Over half of employees say that work stress has made them look for a new job, leave a job or say no to a promotion.
Stress is designed to help us. When the body’s stress response is working properly, it helps us stay focused, energetic, and alert. It also helps us meet challenges. Stress is what keeps us alert during a presentation and can sharpen our concentration.
However beyond a certain point, stress stops being helpful and starts causing major damage to our health, mood, and productivity.
In today’s Information Age we are experiencing an unprecedented amount of stimulants that stress our nervous system beyond what we can handle and even recognize. We don’t realize that from a biological point of view that we are in the 21st century, that we are safe and that we are not threatened by lions or tigers. Our body is constantly taking in “insults”; the buzzing of our phones, text messages, a constant flood of emails or a seemingly endless to-do list. Our body does not differentiate among these “insults” as non-threatening stresses, which causes the same stress response. As we experience these insults repeatedly throughout the day our health starts to deteriorate. It can come in the form of headaches, muscle tension, muscle pain, chest pain, fatigue, upset stomach, insomnia, anxiety, restlessness, lack of motivation, lack of focus or irritability.
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