Even though February is traditionally the month for lovers, it is also the American Heart Month. Studies show that work-related stress affects the heart health of as many as 83% of employees in the US, taking the lives of nearly 120,000 workers each year.
How Workplace Stress Affects the Employees
The first thing workers need to realize is that constant stress – whether from heavy workload or traffic-choked daily commute – can have real physical impact on the body. Stress has been linked to a wide range of health issues, including appetite problems, poor sleep, mood swings, and of course, heart diseases.
Medical researchers at the University of Rochester, NY, have said that long-term stress leads to high levels of cortisol, which causes the person to experience enhanced levels of blood sugar, cholesterol, and hypertension. All these factors result in a poor heart condition which can trigger a variety of issues, including increased risk of stroke.
Chronic stress also causes inflammation which is a well-known instigator of heart disease.
In addition, stress can also make people indulge in bad habits that increase their risk of heart disease. When stressed, many people often binge on unhealthy foods and feel exhausted to the point where they find it difficult to get up in the morning, let alone work out.
How to Cope?
To start with, businesses and organizations need to realize this very real threat to their employees’ health and then take some tangible steps to deal with the problem of stress. Once employers understand the causes and effects of stress on their workers, they can start to find and implement effective solutions.
Here are some tried-and-true ways organizations can help their employees de-stress:
Offer bonuses and incentives
More than 70% of the workers say they feel stressed on a daily basis due to their financial situation, so addressing these financial stressors should be a priority for employers. Offering financial incentives, extra bonuses, increased paid leaves, or a pay raise can easily rectify this problem.
As an employer, you can also educate your employees about how to invest, borrow finances, and pay off outstanding debts efficiently.
Create a safe, peaceful work environment
If an employee is put in a highly stressful situation, such as from an unreasonable deadline or unclear expectations, their bodies automatically go into a fight-or-flight mode. Their cortisol levels climb up, their ability to innovate and strategize goes down, and eventually they get burned out.
To make sure this doesn’t happen, improve psychological safety in the workplace. Build trust with the employees and make them feel that their voices are being heard. Let them know it is okay to fail and praise them on their out-of-the-box ideas.
Another important factor here will be ensuring regular break times. The human brain can only focus for 90 to 120 minutes before it needs a break. Encourage the employees to step away from their desks and go for a short walk every couple of hours which does not mean taking off to see a movie or a thirty-minute break before lunch or right before someone takes off for the day. That’s pushing the envelope!
Create strong engagement with employees
When the employee feels an emotional and mental connection toward their workplace, it leads to several positive benefits, like improved job satisfaction, reduced stress and anxiety, and lower risk of accidents and injuries.
According to the Harvard Business Review, organizations that frequently give recognition to their employees for performing better have a healthier work environment and fewer turnover. Feeling valued helps workers to cope with the demands of work without burning out.
What to Do If You Have Suffered a Work-Related Stress Injury
If you feel you are experiencing emotional stress at work, the first thing you need to do is talk to someone about it. Consider discussing it with your superiors and submitting a formal report. This documentation will become a part of your employment records and it could be useful evidence if you decide to take any kind of action.
It is also recommended to keep a journal detailing the events, dates, and names of people present when a particularly stressful situation occurred. The more information you write down, the more helpful it will be later if you decide to pursue a legal solution.
Suffering a stress-related injury due to your work or work environment is a serious issue and it deserves the full attention of a qualified Workers’ Comp Attorney.
If you or a loved one has suffered a work injury due to work-related stress in Pennsylvania, Robinson Law can help you file a claim and sue the responsible party for damages. Paula Robinson Esq. has been handling Workers’ Comp cases in PA for 32 years and knows exactly how to get her clients the compensation they deserve.
To schedule a no-obligation, free consultation with her, call at 215-530-7166 or leave a message here.