2 top tips for increasing employee productivity. Recent research from Cigna highlights rising employee stress and two areas employers can target to minimize worker stress and increase productivity.
Stress was identified as a key employee health problem in the 2019 Cigna 360 Well-Being Survey. Over 80 percent of workers say they’re stressed and almost 15 percent say they’re unable to cope. The top stressors are personal finances, workloads and health concerns.
Stressed out employees don’t think employers are helping much. Close to 40 percent of workers say no stress management support is provided and only 30 percent receiving stress management support from their employer felt it was adequate.
It’s a serious issue. Studies have shown that employees lose sleep, are distracted at work, have higher rates of absenteeism and are more likely to have health problems when under stress.
Improve Work Culture for Better Employee Productivity
“There is a real need to resolve the ‘always on’ culture before it escalates further as it is negatively affecting the global workplace,” says Jason Sadler, President, Cigna International Markets.
More than 60 percent of employees work in an ‘always on’ culture where they feel the need to constantly access work emails, attend work calls or check mobile phones for work purposes. Workers report a decline in their physical health as a result of not having enough sleep and exercise.
Most employees feel that employers are not addressing wellness concerns sufficiently and often have a ‘one-size-fits-all’ mindset when it comes to stress management and workplace wellness programs.
Make Employee Wellness Programs Work
There are two specific employee populations that don’t feel like their workplace wellness program addresses their needs.
Half of the ‘sandwich generation’ (defined as those between 35-49) feel senior management doesn’t seriously support workplace wellness programs. Having to care for both aging parents and growing families is taking its toll on this generational cohort. More than half of those in the sandwich generation indicated there isn’t a workplace wellness program in place to address their needs, including but not limited to flexibility at work, enhanced company settings and special leave arrangements.
Over half of working women feel that workplace wellness programs need to better address the specific needs of each gender. They see an unmet demand for customized wellness programs that support flexible working hours, establish breakrooms where employees can relax, give the flexibility to work from home/elsewhere outside of the office, provide special paid leave and bolster job/employment security.
The best workplace wellness programs have various components so employees can choose the wellness benefits most relevant to their specific needs. Employers who prioritize stress management through effective wellness programs are likely to reclaim some of the employee productivity lost to stress by way of distraction and absenteeism.