Stress is the emotional pressure that people experience when they try to handle demanding situations. It happens when they try to deal with difficult tasks, frosty relationships, unpleasant events, or other personal issues.
Stress isn’t always a bad thing, but it can become a problem when it negatively impacts the wellbeing of the stressed person over an extended period.
Stress in the Workplace
Workers, like everyone else, deal with stress regularly. Some of it may likely be work-related. Things like unpleasant working environments, excessive workloads, and difficult relationships with team members and management, are among the leading causes of workplace stress. But employees’ productivity may also be impacted by challenges in their private lives, such as financial, legal, relationship and health concerns.
When the workforce is stressed-out, businesses suffer, and the wider economy incurs huge costs. One report suggests that 25% of workers have to take time off work for stress-related reasons each year. Another report, published by the Safe Work Australia says that businesses in the country pay $543 million per annum in workers compensation for work-related mental health conditions.
Employers are responding to this challenge by tackling the main stressors in their organizations and implementing measures to guarantee psychological safety for their staff. They are also taking a greater interest in the general wellbeing of employees on and off the job.
Many businesses have adopted an Employee Assistance Program (EAP), a means by which their workers can get the help they need to deal with stress and other mental health challenges. The traditional option offers a scheduled face-to-face counselling session with a mental health professional. An alternative and more modern approach gives the employee digital and phone access to coping tools, in addition to consultations.
Dealing with Workers’ Stress: Traditional Counselling vs Proactive EAP
Employers looking to remedy the stress issues faced by their workers are faced with two options. They may have their employees booked for a face-to-face meeting with a counsellor, or they could have a proactive EAP. Proactive EAP allows HR to track the state of mental health at their workplace, Upskill employees to improve their wellbeing and reduce risk factors and provide specialist support to employees quickly and easily when they need it.
When comparing these alternatives, companies will want to consider the following things about them.
Employees often want to handle the stress by themselves. Most people will only see a counsellor if their psychological condition deteriorates considerably. A statistic which confirms this tendency is the utilization rate, which measures the degree to which Employee Assistance Programs (EAP) are used by workers. Traditional EAPs which heavily rely on physical counselling sessions have a utilization rate of about 3-4%.
By contrast, Uprise, a proactive EAP, recorded a utilization rate of 23.9% in 2018.
The program, which leverages a decade of research in workers’ mental health, achieves much higher utilization rates because it isn’t a ‘last resort’ tool.
The mental resilience training programs and regular evaluations offered by Uprise allow it to resolve a large number of stress-related issues before they become significant enough to warrant a counsellor’s intervention.
Traditional EAP providers may work just fine for various degrees of stress. In reality, they often only cater to people with more advanced forms of stress, because they aren’t very good at picking up the early signs in individuals who use them.
Uprise not only captures a larger percentage of persons through its program, it also records significant improvements in their psychological conditions after they have used it. In 2018, companies that offered Uprise to their employees saw a reduction in employees with high-risk stress drop from 22% to 5%.
Mental Health Risk Measurement
Traditional EAPs may only put out reports between long intervals (many of them on an annual basis). This, combined with their heavy reliance on physical visits to counsellors, means that they may not always detect the risks of a stressed person developing a more complex mental health condition.
Proactive EAP makes up for this deficit with tools that measure the likelihood of its users becoming mentally ill. The best of them will have remote mental strength training and support services which help their users to deal with emotional pressure before it reaches crisis levels.
Uprise’s report from 2018 shows that employees at risk for developing a mental health condition fell from 27% (pre-program) to 4% (post-program). There was also a drop in the number of employees at risk of imminent turnover, from 19% (pre-program) to 9% (post-program).
Businesses that lace a premium on reducing the stress their employees face at their duty posts will very likely get a productivity boost in return. They can extend these benefits even further by working with a proactive EAP provider.