In Part 1 of Stress in the Workplace, I addressed ten steps that employers can take to help employees on their journey to identifying signs of stress and how to manage it. In Part 2, we'll explore the impact of stress as well additional ways employers can promote healthy mental and physical lifestyles.
Many employees face stress for various reasons. About 33 percent of employees report high levels of stress. In addition to personal stressors, workplace stress can be a harmful physical and emotional response when the match between job demand, resources and needs of the employees is misaligned.
In today's workplace, 75 percent of employees believe they have more job stress than a generation ago and 25 percent feel their jobs are the number one stressor in their lives.
Some major causes of workplace stress include:
When stress goes unchecked and untreated, it can lead to both mental and physical disabilities. In a report by the Centre of Addiction and Mental Health, the total cost of both diagnosed and undiagnosed mental illness is approximately $51 billion annually.
As of January 2013, the new Canadian Standards Association's National Standard of Canada for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace (the CSA Standard) has been released. The purpose of the CSA Standard is intended to help promote psychological health and safety (PHS) in the workplace. On a voluntary basis, employers are encouraged to implement new policies, procedures and practices to promote PHS; it is commonly referred to as P6. These policies and procedures are to be considered for inclusion above and beyond existing Workers' Compensation and Human Rights requirements. Basically, it is a framework that overlays what employers hopefully are doing already.
Employers can access the CSA Standard without charge from the CSA website for the first five years following its release. The CSA Standard or P6 provides employers with an infrastructure made up of six parts: policy, planning, promotion, prevention, process and persistence.
The American Medical Association has noted that stress is the basic cause of more than 60 percent of all human illness and disease. The reality is that our body doesn't discriminate between a big or little stress. If unchecked, stress can age us prematurely, impair our cognitive function and drain our energy leaving us struggling to focus and feeling further and further behind in our work.
If you have questions about the CSA Standard and the services available within your group benefits plan to help employees deal with stress-related issues, please contact us. We're here to help so that you can focus on what you do best.
Dave Dickinson, B.Comm, CFP, CLU, CHFC
Experienced Benefits Specialist ready to optimize your group benefits and pension plans.