Globally, almost everyone is experiencing more stress these days. People are experiencing increased anxiety despite the worst of the pandemic has passed, as well as rising inflation, economic turmoil, and political instability.
Gallup State of the Global Workplace Report indicates that stress levels in 2021 were even higher than in 2020, when they had already reached a record high, with 44% admitting to having “a lot of daily stress” the day before.
Employee engagement statistics are just as dismal. Study results show that only 21% of workers worldwide report feeling engaged at work.
More recently, UOB conducted an ASEAN Consumer Sentiment Study that polled 3,500 people from Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Vietnam. The survey, which covered societal progress; individual financial behaviour, and career prospects; consumer digital evolution; sustainability; and future financial trends, found that one in two Malaysians (49%) is the most stressed about work, followed by Singapore (46%), Thailand (32%), Vietnam (29%), and Indonesia (28%).
Stress: The Silent Killer of Productivity
When employees are faced with so many external and internal stressors, their performance and health are bound to suffer. It is also possible for low morale to spread. It has been suggested that self-care is one of the most effective ways to cope with stress, but sometimes employees do not realise this until it is too late.
It is therefore extremely helpful for businesses and employers if they can spot the first signs of stress and burnout and assist their employees.
Experts recommend the following strategies for businesses and employers to help staff cope with stress:
- Encouraging employees to benefit from wellness advice or programmes, yoga or meditation courses, and webinars on stress management;
- Making sure employees take regular breaks;
- Encouraging employees to go for a daily walk, spend time with friends or a significant other after work, engage in hobbies, enjoy music, and take vacations;
- Redesigning the work environment so it is more conducive and comfortable and allows for increased productivity; and
- Providing added health benefits for employees, such as cognitive behavioural therapy training for workers and routine health surveillance screening for high blood pressure and stress symptoms
Stress, undoubtedly, is a silent and frequently overlooked factor. To reach their full potential, employees can feel supported at work by creating a healthier, safer, and more productive work environment.