Workplace stress management: therapeutic intervention can boost productivity and employee well being
By Stephen M. Pfeiffer, PhD
The holiday season is just around the corner, bringing with it a time for fun, festivity – and unfortunately, record-high stress levels both at work and at home. The American Institute of Stress (AIS) cites career concerns and workload as the leading stressors affecting the nation; and as most of us know, holiday plans and obligations can certainly compound those stressors. Throughout the year, workplace stress management is essential to workers’ mental and physical well being. And while some degree of balance can often be achieved on an individual basis, therapeutic intervention offers a proactive solution to restore worker productivity, reduce absenteeism and improve work and life quality for all concerned.
In 2001, the median number of days away from work as a result of anxiety, stress and related disorders was twenty-five – four times greater than the median for all nonfatal injury and illness causes, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Furthermore, job stress is estimated to cost U.S. industry over $300 billion a year in absenteeism, turnover, diminished productivity and medical, legal and insurance costs (Health and Stress, Rosch, 2001). The AIS notes that increased stress levels facing today’s workforce are associated with a variety of serious health risks ranging from heart attack and hypertension to psychological disorders like anxiety and depression. And while one might expect these risks to vary according to the “most” and “least” stressful occupations, the highly subjective nature of stress makes it virtually impossible to quantify expected or “normal” stress levels for any given segment of the workforce.
According to the AIS, “the severity of job stress depends on the magnitude of the demands that are being made and the individual’s sense of control…in dealing with them,” as opposed to any particular line of work. Studies have shown that it is this perceived lack of control in the face of high demand that puts workers at the greatest risk for stress-related conditions like cardiovascular disease, anxiety disorders and clinical depression.
Given these factors, together with mounting reports of unemployment and job insecurity stress, many mental health and medical professionals are advocating for therapeutic intervention for improved workplace stress management. Modalities ranging from counseling to coaching can help employers keep workers healthy and thriving – all while reducing the risk for serious injury and high compensation costs.
Get individualized advice and guidance for the right stress management therapies and techniques
This holiday season, tackle workplace stress head-on with targeted strategies for employee well being. Depending on the nature of one’s business and the potential stressors facing employees, it may be helpful for employers to consult with a qualified psychologist to determine the best therapeutic approach. To learn more about workplace stress management techniques from an experienced Qualified Medical Evaluator, contact me via email at Stephen@pfeifferphd.com or visit my website at www.pfeifferphd.com.
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