Stress remains a serious problem in many workplaces, but employers and employees disagree on the best way to fight stress, according to a recent research report.
It found that more than half of employees believe work-related stress has taken a toll on their health, while a similar proportion believe work obligations and a lack of time interfere with their ability to pursue a healthy lifestyle.
The report, which was conducted by The Economist Intelligence Unit, said some 70 per cent of employees agree wellness programmes can have at least a moderate impact on lowering stress, yet only 14 per cent participate regularly in a stress management programme.
Furthermore, 44 per cent of employers say stress management programmes are most effective tools to promote health and wellness at their companies, while only 36 per cent of employees say the same.
“This suggests a disagreement as to what is the best way for companies to alleviate stress: through focused stress management programmes, or simply by providing more flexible hours,” said the report, The wellness effect: The impact of workplace programmes.
“Employers may want to look more carefully at other wellness tools that could help to reduce stress, even if they are not explicitly designed to do so.”
Further, nearly half of employees (48 per cent) cite more flexible working schedules as most effective against 34 per cent of employers.
The report found US employers have been fairly successful at establishing a “culture of wellness” – defined as an array of programmes that support employee health and wellness (such as improved diet), along with physical and environmental features (such as relaxing work spaces for breaks).