11 Surprising Ways Stress is Affecting Your Business's Bottom Line
Stress is affecting your organization, team, group, or workplace. There is no doubt about it. Stress affects relationships, leadership, teamwork, and individual wellbeing, but in this article, we are talking about how stress is affecting the dollars and cents of your business - your bottom line.
- Absenteeism. When people experience too much stress associated with work, they try to relieve the stress by taking days off. Of course with absenteeism there is associated cost with tasks not being completed, other people having to fill in, and so on.
- Presenteeism. When people are stressed at work, they take more breaks for longer duration. They spend more time on social media. Meetings take longer. Gossip, drama, and venting take the place of constructive dialogue. Inefficiency makes a small job take long. The extra time that is spent on unproductive activities at work has a cost.
- Turnover. There are two main reasons people leave their positions in the workplace when it comes to stress. One is that the individual does not have the skills to deal with the everyday pressures and stressors of the job. The second is that the entire workplace is permeated with stress and incoherence and people leave the toxic environment. In both cases, what you’re looking at is having to spend the time, money and resources to hire and train a new person for the same position. And quite likely the same thing is going to happen again in the near future.
- Healthcare Costs. It is a proven fact that stress affects physical and mental health. When you or your people feel negative emotions such as overwhelm, frustration, anxiety, fear, or meaninglessness, the body enters a state called incoherence where the different body systems don’t work together. When the body isn’t working in harmony, disease and illness result. This might be short-term, such as frequent colds and flus, or long-term with chronic diseases. In either case, sick time has a cost. Training a temp has a cost. Off-loading onto other team members has a cost. And of course, health insurance has a cost. It all adds up.
- Mistakes. When you or your people feel those stressful emotions, such as depression, irritation, worry, or uncertainty, the brain experiences cortical inhibition. This is a fancy term for the brain can’t work effectively. And when the brain isn’t working effectively, mistakes are made. Communication errors, saying the wrong message, hearing the wrong message, making poor decisions, lack of foresight, poor judgement all lead to mistakes. And mistakes are costly.
- Accidents. Because stress decreases the brain’s effectiveness, and the brain is in charge of the body, stress results in impaired coordination and reaction times. This leads to more accidents and physical injuries. Time away from work, fill-ins, and insurance are costly. And of course, there is cost beyond financial for the injured worker.
- Insomnia. If you are your people spend just 5 minutes feeling a negative emotion such as annoyance, impatience, boredom, anxiety, or hopelessness, the body begins a cascade of over 1400 biochemical reactions, including a release of cortisol (the stress hormone). This cascade can last up to 12 hours. The trouble is that these biochemicals interfere with sleep. In other words, 5 minutes of feeling a negative emotion results in 12 hours of sleep-impairing chemicals. Of course when people don’t get a good night’s sleep, they don’t work well the next day. Inefficiency costs.
- Unethical Decisions. When people are stressed, they make poor decisions. Stress and the feeling of dissatisfaction at work are closely linked. When people are dissatisfied with their work, they don’t feel connected and loyal to their place of work. Poor decisions are made in all levels of the organization. Anything from pocketing extra staples, to using the company account for personal expenses, to embezzling from the business accounts has a cost.
- Lack of New Ideas. Business growth is important. New solutions, creative ideas, and intuitive decisions allow a business to move forward. Stress affects the brain’s ability to do any of this and so problems go unsolved, questions go unanswered, and the business suffers. The time spent solving problems, and the lack of new creative ideas can either cost a business, or stop it from making more money.
- Throwing Money at a Problem. With the best of intentions, some businesses try to help their people be less stressed by increasing pay, making bigger bonuses and so on. Unfortunately, happiness really can’t be bought. While the money can give temporary relief for the individuals, it doesn’t solve the stress problem.
- Lack of Customer Satisfaction. Every business exists to help customers. When you or your people are stressed, it is more difficult to deal with customers in the most effective manner. Customer service suffers. In addition, the entire workplace may have the “stressed vibe” which customers can pick up on and they’ll take their business elsewhere.
As you can see, the culture of stress that permeates so many workplaces is not helpful. Contrary to popular opinion, no business works better under stress. Instead, you and your people need to learn the skills to handle challenges as they arise in order to create a Culture of Coherence. In a Culture of Coherence, you, your people, and your business will thrive.
Here’s to Conquering Stress,
The Stress Experts.
Practical Strategies to Deal With Daily Stressors
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