Source: Kristen Cederlind
A degree of stress, whether at the workplace or at home, is normal. Excessive stress can be harmful both physically and mentally. Left unchecked, stress can lead to depression and anxiety and also contribute to physical issues. Absenteeism, higher medical expenses and increased workers’ compensation claims directly or indirectly related to job stress have a negative financial impact for employers.
Strengthen Resilience: 3 Tips
A 2015 study by the American Psychological Association showed that 65% of U.S. employees reported work as their top stressor. Because life’s ups and downs are often unpredictable and are ongoing, people need to find better ways to cope with the various stressors that come their way. This concept of resilience, which is the ability to withstand, recover and grow in the face of stressors and changing demands is a key strategy to improving worker health. The good news is resilience skills can be learned!
Tip #1: Empower employees
Part of building resilience in the workplace involves empowering employees to take an active role in identifying and solving problems – whether they relate to process or safety issues. Poor work design or uncomfortable working conditions lead to job stress, so developing a culture where employees feel comfortable reporting discomfort or inefficiency, and have the opportunity to give input into solutions feel more valued.
Tip #2: Improve physical strength
Resilience at work also has a physical component. AHA research conducted on a cross-section of the U.S. workforce showed that 81% of workers perceived improvement of physical health as a meaningful topic of resilience training. From a movement and strength standpoint, workers need to build capacity to handle the demands of their job. A worker who barely has sufficient strength or flexibility to perform necessary work tasks is going to be less able to respond to any out-of-the-ordinary or unpredictable situation that arises and will likely be at greater risk for injury. Improving physical strength and mobility will set the stage for a more adaptive, or resilient, response.
Tip #3: Use a physical therapist (PT) to help build a resilience program
Onsite physical therapists can be a valuable partner in promoting resilience in the workplace by helping workers build adaptive ways to respond to their environment through ergonomics, job coaching, fitness and other injury prevention activities.
Early research shows that resilience programs in the workplace have a statistically significant effect on a broad range of physical and mental health, well-being and work performance. For more information on how to put an onsite program in place, contact WorkWell today.