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How NZ Businesses Are Lowering Employee Stress & Boosting Performance

While some stress is a normal part of our lives, having exacerbated stress levels can quickly take a toll on our physical and mental health – while hampering work performance due to a range of factors from the inability to concentrate or think clearly to physical exhaustion and fatigue. As a business owner with your team spending more than a third of their day at work, this is a critical area where you can make a difference – especially with surveys showing 61% of employees saying their stress made them feel tired and out of control, 20% missing six or more work days per year due to stress alone, and one third of employees being very concerned about their stress levels.

From a business perspective, not proactively addressing stress can lead to higher turnover rates, disengagement or “quiet quitting”, absenteeism, presenteeism, conflict in the workplace, burnout, an unhealthy company culture – and much more. Here’s a look into why helping your employees reduce or better manage their stress can be a great asset to your business, and a simple and hassle-free way that you can get started today.

The Impacts Of Employee Stress On Your Business

To understand why stress can have an incredibly detrimental effect on a person’s overall well-being when it is present in excess amounts means knowing about the physiological and biochemical processes that occur in our body when we’re excessively stressed.

Stress causes our nervous system to trigger our body to release stress hormones such as adrenaline, noradrenaline and cortisol. While in certain situations this would help us cope with danger by stimulating our fight-or-flight response, high ongoing levels of stress turns this into a very negative experience:

  • Your muscles tense, which can lead to tension headaches and migraines
  • Your airways can constrict, leaving you feeling short of breath and breathing rapidly, which can be dangerous for people with existing respiratory conditions
  • Your heart starts beating faster and your blood pressure can elevate. When stress continues for a prolonged period (chronic stress), this increases the risk of hypertension, heart attacks and strokes
  • Endocrine systems (hormones) and the gastrointestinal systems are negatively impacted
  • The reproductive systems in both men and women can be impaired

These along with various other impacts on the body of stress means that daily tasks like being productive at work, having clear and concise thinking, and even maintaining good working relationships and healthy collaboration are impaired. And that’s if your employees make it to work.

What Causes Stress In The Workplace?

The causes of employee stress vary greatly as your employees will have a range of things happening in their personal lives outside of any work-related deadlines or issues. For some, dealing with a loss of a loved one or conflict in their family life will be a key source of stress. Others may be struggling with their work commitments paired with a sick toddler at home, leading to late (and often unproductive) nights juggling both the employee and the parent hat. For others, it may be the high standards they hold themselves to at work that they may feel like they’re not meeting, or will be related to suboptimal outcomes from work projects that conflict with their inner values. Simply put, it can be very different for everyone.

One survey found that 41% of those interviewed reported the size of their workload to be a key cause of their stress at work, while 32% reported people issues, 18% reported juggling work and their personal lives, and 9% reported a lack of job security.

Regardless of the cause, more than one third of the respondents in the same survey said that they lose an hour or more every day of productivity due to stress – and for a business owner, that’s a lot of hours that can be saved from better investing into helping their team manage and reduce their stress.

Reducing Stress In The Workplace

When it comes to helping reduce stress in the workplace, one simple and proactive approach that business owners and companies are taking is to offer employer aid payments with HealthNow. This is an alternative to contributing to health insurance payments, instead putting funds into a dedicated health wallet for employees who can use the funds how they need to, when they need to – without the restrictions, limitations and stand down periods imposed by private health insurance providers.

This way, employees are in control of the help they need – whether that’s booking an appointment with a counsellor or psychiatrist, booking an appointment with a nutritionist for weight-related issues that are always on their mind, paying for supplements from their pharmacy, booking an appointment with a GP or physio to address their chronic pain – or even book appointments for other families whose health may be compromised – which is often a large source of stress on immediate family members.

How Does Employer Aid Work?

Employer Aid allows you as an employer to put money directly into your employees dedicated health wallets which can be used for a range of medical and health needs for your employee and their family. You choose how much to give and at what frequency. Unlike private health insurance, nothing is ‘lost’ if it’s not used – your employees keep the funds in their account until they use them, and the funds can be returned to you if your employee resigns. By giving your team control and flexibility over how to best care for their mental or physical health, you’re setting your team up for success and reduced stress by allowing them to address their health problems when they need to.

To get your workplace onboard with HealthNow’s Employer Aid programme, contact our friendly team here.

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