Stress impacts on employee health and productivity link to bottom line

Stress impacts on employee health and productivity link to bottom line, written for Business in Vancouver Magazine

In today’s knowledge based economy, intellectual capital has the competitive edge, but research shows that stress is a major problem affecting worker health and productivity (H&P) causing more than two-thirds of Canadian companies to develop programs aimed at stress busting in the next year.

According to the Towers Watson 2009/2010 North American Staying @ Work Report: the Health and Productivity Advantage, companies with the most effective H&P programs experienced superior human capital and financial outcomes: 11% higher revenue per employee, lower medical trends by 1.2 percentage points, 1.8 fewer days absent per employee and 28% higher shareholder returns.

Susan Polano, Certified Therapist, and Oceana Massage Owner in Yaletown, regularly works with business people impacted by stress, but who want to create a healthier work/life balance with regular visits.

“Chronic stress wears down the body’s immune system, causing 95 per cent of all illness, a scientific fact from the Stanford Centre on Stress and Health. Using a holistic approach with soft lighting, music, and aromatherapy to soothe the senses, I can remove muscle knots and slough tension in one session. Customers completely relax and escape from life’s issues for awhile. They go back to work feeling energized and clear-minded,” Polano says.

She also administers a hot rock full body massage with healing basalt stones offering a comforting, grounding effect, a popular stress buster.

“When we feel stressed, our thought processes and perceptions work differently than after we become relaxed and rejuvenated with a massage. It’s a small monthly time investment with great rewards,” she says.

Michele Bicego, Human Resource (HR) Specialist and President, Vibe Strategies agrees that investing in optimal employee health strategies leads to a stronger brand, greater attraction and retention and less turnover due to improved morale.

“Preventative health measures undertaken by employees can save on disability and employee assistance costs which are now up by 35 per cent,” she says.