How much can stress cost your business? According to Safe Work Australia, you're likely to be paying your share of the $10 billion bill the country is handed each and every year due to employee stress.
That's around $5,000 for each business in Australia, though its a rather unscientific estimate, with the total amount relying on the number of people you employ, as well as how you manage health issues in the workplace.
One in four Australians recorded a moderate to severe level of stress in 2014 – a consistent and troublesome figure to bring down.
The other reason it's difficult to put a value on the effects of stress is because it impacts people in a number of ways. A stressed employee may be unproductive, constantly taking sick days or they could be looking for a new job.
However, it's likely that someone in your company suffers from the issue. According to a piece of research from the Australian Psychological Society (APS), one in four Australians recorded a moderate to severe level of stress in 2014 – a consistent and troublesome figure to bring down.
All this gives us an incentive to get to know stress more intimately, and plan for reducing its effects in your company.
What causes stress?
Stress can be brought on by any number of factors, though some of the most common include financial worries, lifestyle issues, problems at work or any health concerns of the individual or a person close to them. The APS also found that mental health issues are a source of stress among a fifth of their respondents.
It's interesting to note that causes of stress appear to decrease as the subject gets older. One reason is that the older demographic reported higher levels of wellbeing, leading to fewer causes of stress in the social and financial sense.
In fact, those most susceptible to stress were in the 19-25 and 26-35 age groups, making it a particularly important issue to confront for companies with millennial workers and those in this rather broad age range.
What are the effects of stress?
The impact of stress can be characterised into two categories: mental and physical effects.
The APS study found that seven in ten Australians with stress recorded some impact on their physical health. Around 20 per cent of them termed these physical effects as 'strong' to 'very strong'. Similarly, two-thirds of stress sufferers said it was impacting their mental health, with one in five again calling the results either 'strong' or 'very strong'.
When it comes to the workplace, stress is likely to manifest itself in retention and employee motivation. Particularly in highly stressful job roles, it becomes an increasingly important factor to manage.
How can you manage stress in the workplace?
All this means that reducing workplace stress becomes something to aim for in a corporate health plan. Whether it's the way an employer allows access to private health benefits, subsequently relieving an employee's financial burden, or supporting their dietary wellbeing, there are many ways a health plan can help.
For these reasons, many health funds have included wellbeing programs into their corporate health insurance offerings, with solutions designed to improve health, reduce stress and find a better work/life balance.
Most importantly, the results are proving fruitful. The APS study found that an impressive four in five people who took part in a stress management strategy said they found it either moderately or highly effective.
How can HICA help?
HICA provides advice and assistance with your health insurance needs. We offer businesses of all sizes a tailor-made plan to help ensure their investments in a corporate health strategy leads to a return on investment.
As well as using our expertise and professional networks to find a corporate health plan, we help remove the administrative and legislative burden by managing that strategy, for the good of your employees and your calendar.
To learn more, contact a HICA expert today on 1300 44 22 01.