When the mind can’t overcome matter

When the mind can’t overcome matter

Why workplace stress can damage your business’ bottom line

Bill Howatt, Morneau Shepell’s chief research and development officer for workforce productivity, has been studying human behaviour for 25 years and he’s got a message for employers of all sizes—stress in the workplace isn’t going away, so it’s time to invest in strategies to deal with it.

Research findings released by Morneau Shepell last January show that organizational stress is the highest source of stress for Canadian employees and could impact employee retention.

The research shows that 40 per cent of managers and 34 per cent of employees reported they suffered from extreme levels of stress over the last six months. Both groups ranked workplace stress higher than personal stress. Another concerning finding from the research is that many managers (20 per cent) and employees (18 per cent) would be likely to leave their employer due to the stress they were encountering at work. The survey was done between Aug. 28 and Sept. 7, 2017 and included 1,510 respondents.

The survey also unearthed some interesting findings about employees in Atlantic Canada and workplace stress. Employees in the region were less likely to report workplace stress (31 per cent) than their counterparts in Ontario (41 per cent), Manitoba and Saskatchewan (38 per cent) and Alberta (36 per cent). Atlantic Canadian employees also had one of the lowest percentages (41 per cent) in ranking their employers for providing support for mental health support.

Howatt says with mental health issues and workplace stress causing employees to be less productive and more likely to leave their jobs; employers must improve the situation or risk damaging their businesses. One strategy that is proving to be successful is providing education and training to managers so they can detect employee stress and intervene. “We must create a business case and show the cost of doing nothing,” Howatt says. “That causes a shift for employers. They realize these [mental health] programs are not a cost but an investment.”

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