Stress is well known to be bad for peoples’ health. Workplace stress and personal stress are both complicit in reducing the health and performance of employees, limiting their personal and professional development and goals. Large causes of stress affecting people in a recent Mercer survey are being paid enough to pay the bills and save for retirement. The effects of stress: decreases in work performance and a cycle of more stress.
Stress has been shown across a wide variety of medical literature to be detrimental to the human body. It is implicated in immune response suppression, memory impairment, concentration difficulties, cardiovascular disease, body weight changes and an increase in the development of psychological disorders – among others. Being in a state of stress is in a dangerous situation perfectly acceptable, in a situation in which there are no dangers, it is only counterproductive. Reducing or removing stressors from the natural environment is therefore better for almost everyone acting in those environments, in the long term.
In a recent survey by Mercer, titled ‘Your Health, Your Wealth, Your Future’, the HR consulting firm commissioned a Red C survey of 1,500 UK and Irish employees from a range of industries about their levels of stress and how that stress is affecting them in everyday life. According to the survey, employees face a number of different stressors, from increases in ‘work flow’ management where every part of their daily activity is scrutinised causing work place stress, to employee concerns about their long term financial situations.
Almost all (97%) of the surveyed employees indicate that they are stressed and personal stress is prevalent among 78%. Just over half (52%) say that keeping a healthy lifestyle while holding down a job is a concern or very much so; 48% are concerned or very much so about their levels of remuneration today and their retirement outlook; and 45% are concerned or very concerned about simply paying their bills as well as the consequences of illness or death on their families.
The consequences of stress on individuals can be considerably negative to those affected. Of the respondents, 57% say that they are less motivated because of stress, 51% feel that they have less energy, and 46% say stress has some impact on their overall health. Workplace and personal stress are also negatively affecting workplace performance. 61% of respondents relate that stress reduces their ability to concentrate on their work, 56% say that it affectively reduces their workplace satisfaction, while 44% say that being stressed actually makes them less productive.
To combat these issues, and to find ways of reducing workplace as well as personal stress, Mercer recently launched a benefit engagement tool, Mercer Harmonise.