Big business is setting its sights on the impact that emotional well-being—stress management, resilience and mindfulness—can have on the productivity, capacity and motivation of people. And they are seeing it as a must have for every employee, right up there with fitness, weight management, and healthy lifestyle programming.
This approach is a sea change in thinking about work, stress, and wellness, and it’s about time. Emotional well-being has conventionally been seen as the domain of crisis-based solutions: employee assistance programs, counseling, and hotlines.
This new thinking is catching like wildfire: In a recent survey report by Buck Consultants at Xerox (“Promoting Mental Well-being: Addressing Worker Stress and Psychosocial Risks”), researchers found that 84 percent of employers believe they have a responsibility to provide a work environment that promotes mental well-being.
Today’s workforce is anything but conventional: The modern workforce has dizzying demands on their time, and they don’t all work one way, nor do they have the freedom to “only” work on one thing or another: about 75 percent of employees are parents; more than a third of employees are non-professional caregivers; and 47 percent of employees are part of dual-income households.
Along with this shifting demographic, the new reality is that there are no hard lines between work and home, personal and professional. People bring their whole selves to work, including their stressors and emotions.
In our work with employers who use meQuilibrium, our cloud-based solution for building the resilience of their employees, we see some very interesting correlations that support this new reality.
It’s not the job
The common assumption is that work alone causes stress, but in our experience, work itself is not the primary source of stress for most people. People regularly cite family, success, and money as their key sources of stress. In other words, people consistently rank family and success as higher than ‘their job’ when queried about their main sources of stress.
Why resilience matters:
- Sleep, eating habits, and physical fitness consistently correlate to stress levels. Self-esteem and how well connected one feels to their work positively correlate with sleep, eating habits, and physical fitness. You do the math.
- People who scored high on ‘feeling overwhelmed’ and ‘not being able to balance the competing demands in their lives’ had 29% lower resilience scores and 71% higher stress index scores.
- As resilience scores improve, corresponding measurements of how stressed they feel improve at twice that rate. In other words, as people develop the learnable skills of resilience, their confidence in their ability to handle adversity soars.
When employees suffer poor emotional well-being, they are more likely to be chronically stressed. In that state, they are much less able to make (and hold onto) the practical, healthy changes that would make a positive difference. The constant juggling act, trying to manage the competing demands of work and life erodes productivity and contributes to distraction, disconnection, depression, and ultimately, burnout.
We know that resilience can be taught and used to change your outlook, your approach to stress, and, ultimately, the bottom line. Employees who feel supported, self-aware, and in control of their work and their lives outperform the others.
Could resilience training improve your company’s culture, employee productivity and well-being? Download our free special report,Resilience in the Workforce, Key Considerations for Improving Outcomes.
Jan Bruce is the CEO and co-founder of meQuilibrium, a digital coaching platform that delivers clinically validated and highly personalized resilience solutions to employers, health plans, wellness providers and consumers to help improve outcomes in managing stress, health, engagement, productivity and performance.