Stress in the workplace

I am a complementary therapist and life coach, working with individuals and companies, specialising in stress relief. I worked for a number of years in London’s financial sector in the city and personally understand the cause and effect of stress in the workplace.  

Although stress is much in the news at present, it isn’t a new problem. Pressure is part and parcel of all work and helps to keep us motivated. But excessive pressure can lead to stress and this can undermine performance, is costly to employers and can make people ill.

The cost of stress in the workplace

When it comes to the cost of workplace stress, latest figures from the HSE suggest that stress in the workplace costs the country over £530 million per year, which equates to over 13 million ‘lost’ working days. These figures look set to rise as one considers the pressure and stress that many employees are experiencing as a result of the credit crunch and recession.

These studies confirm that the cost of neglecting workplace stress can be extremely high – and its impact isn’t restricted to larger companies or a particular industry sector. Aside from the financial cost of workplace stress, it can cause other issues, such as reduced productivity, performance and engagement, a decline in customer service, increased sickness absence and a growth in staff turnover. 

The failure of employers to address the issues contributing to workplace stress mean that the cost, both financial and emotional, can snowball and have a dramatic negative impact throughout an organisation. For example, the impact of one person’s absence due to stress can have a significant bearing on their colleagues who need to carry on until they return to work. 

There are clear benefits to preventing work-related stress:

  • Quality of working life: employees feel happier and more valued and perform better
  • Improved attendance/sickness: attendance levels go up/ sickness absence 
  • Increased productivity & profits: as productivity goes up, company profits increase
  • Improved employment relations: reduced risk of future employment tribunals 

If employers can reduce stress they can reduce their costs, so it makes perfect sense to provide some means of stress relief in the workplace.

More and more employers are aware that a regular massage can reduce the physical and mental effects of stress, thus reducing burnout and stress related diseases. Moreover, they are heeding the call by introducing massage therapy in the workplace, not only as a perk but also to increase productivity and morale.

A study by the Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami found that after five weeks, a group of 26 employees who had twice-weekly, 15-minute massages in the office fared better than a controlled group of 24 employees who were just told to close their eyes and relax.

Benefits to Massaged GroupBenefits to Controlled Group 
Reduced stressNo change
Increased maths and problem solving in half the time and with half the errorsNo change
Less tired and more clear headed No change

In addition, using electroencephalograms (EEG), researchers measured alpha and beta waves in both groups and found massage recipients to be more alert and stress hormones in their saliva were lower than in the controlled group.

There are no statistics on the number of companies that offer massage therapy on-site, but those that do offer it include law, insurance and accountancy firms, banks, hospitals, transport providers, manufacturers and some corporations in the city.

  • Do you want to provide a friendlier, stress-free working environment?
  • Do you want a happier, more productive workforce?
  • Do you want an increase in profits?

If you answered yes to all three questions then read on

In September 2004 London Underground asked me to provide stress relief to members of staff at their Head Office (one day a month) to include Indian Head Massage, Thai Seated Massage and Reiki. The response and feedback from members of staff was so positive that by November 2004, I was providing treatments on two days month together with a further day at a new location.

The success of the above can be further measured by the fact that individual staff members pay for their own treatments. This is a unique situation as most companies see stress relief as a perk or will offer a subsidy – the fact that employees were prepared to finance their own treatments indicates the importance they place on this facility.

My therapists are fully trained to carry out a variety of seated massage techniques and all hold valid professional and public liability insurance. Learn to manage and control stress through Life Coaching, a powerful process that supports clients in making choices, providing a framework and support mechanism to set clear objectives for the future. Because every company is unique in the way it operates and objectives may vary, my package is designed to suit your business.

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Why not stage your own in-house Stress Awareness Day where members of your staff can pop-in throughout the day to talk to suitably qualified therapists about ways of reducing and managing stress levels and try out different relaxation treatments.

If your company is committed to reducing stress in the workplace or you would like further information, please do not hesitate to contact me. I am very happy to visit your office to discuss a tailor-made plan for the future well being of your employees.