The work demands are increasingly creeping into employee’s lives both inside and outside of the office, which makes it difficult to decompress everyday. Those demands on time cause employees to become more distracted and heighten stress. Bridge by Instructure surveyed of more than 1,000 office employees across the U.S. to assess their workplace habits and how they cope with stress.
The survey revealed many companies are creating a culture of burnout when they don’t encourage an adequate work-life balance. Just one-third of employees say they are encouraged to take paid time off (PTO) by their employers and only 11 percent are encouraged to take mental health days. Burnout leads to distractions, which costs companies money.
Employees spend up to 77 minutes a day watching non-work related TV or online videos while they are on the job. That time results in companies losing nearly $9,000 a year per employee. In a company of 5,00 employees that’s $44 million lost a year.
In addition to money lost for the company and burnout experienced by employees, workplace stress is leading to bad habits as people try to cope. Some employees are turning to substances to manage stressors at work with 34 percent saying their reliance on caffeine has increased and 7 percent saying they now rely on anti-anxiety medication.
So, how can employees better deal with stress and live a healthier lifestyle? Of the many ways we found these three to be most helpful in the study:
- Be proactive with manager and leaders: Employees should communicate with managers about expectations, feedback on progress, and career goals. This will help reduce stress and help them achieve greater job satisfaction. It will also help managers deliver better business results.
- Stand up, exercise, and move: Medical science is clear that moving, standing, and exercising is beneficial for physical and mental health. Aerobic exercise for at least 30 minutes along with regular standing and moving throughout the day will reduce stress.
- Disconnect every day: Many jobs have 24/7 busy cycles, so employees can reduce stress by picking a time each day to switch off the phone, put away the laptop, and uncouple from the stress of the day. This will reduce stress and the increase productivity during work hours.
Companies can help their employees become less distracted and more productive, less reliant on unhealthy substances, and more able to disconnect by creating a culture that encourages a work-life balance. We all can feel stress at work, but better planning and a little effort can make a big difference and allow us to flourish.