“The stress productivity shortfall for an employee with a $60,000 salary is $13,400 annually.”
That was the conclusion of cross-disciplinary research quantifying five different impacts of stress on workers: turnover costs; lack of focus; unhappiness; engagement; and absenteeism.
The cost represents over 22% of salary, and, for that same $60k/year worker, represents more than 56 times the average annual spend on employee wellbeing.
But stress is not the only issue sapping productivity. Employees use their cell phones for an average of 56 minutes per day for non-work activity. They spend 42 minutes per day taking care of personal issues, such as errands.
Fortunately, there is a mountain of research out there that explains these stressors and distractions, and all of it really boils down to five core issues:
- Physical Health – The pandemic has dramatically increased stress around this issue, and not just because of COVID. More than 60% of adults have experienced undesired weight and sleeping changes during the pandemic. Nearly half said they delayed or canceled health care services.
- Mental Health – Pre-pandemic, just 5% of employed workers and 7% of unemployed workers said their mental health was poor or very poor. Those numbers have more than tripled to 18% of employed workers and 27% of unemployed workers. A staggering 40% say they have experienced burnout during the pandemic.
- Financial Health – While physical and mental health are in decline, 73% of Americans still say money tops their list of stressors. Rising wages have been offset by inflation, leaving both employers and employees frustrated with the value they are receiving from paychecks.
- Career Development – 35% of employees leaving their company identified a lack of career potential as the primary motivator. And organizations will have a hard time converting competitors’ ex-employees: just 21% of those resigning are returning to work in the same sector.
- Social Health – Loneliness is a growing epidemic: 61% of adults are struggling with it. Social connections increase happiness, reduce stress, increase engagement, and encourage a healthy lifestyle.
With the core drivers of the problem identified, the next step—and the easiest one—is to add wellness programs in each of the areas. There are myriad resources to help address each of these issues, but nearly all of them are missing a critical ingredient: time.
When employers include on-the-clock time to engage with a comprehensive wellness platform, the results have been revolutionary. Because while about 9-in-10 have wellness programs, only 24% of employees participate and only half that many believe the programs are helping. This leaves both organizations and their people frustrated with the lack of progress.
Employers have access to the most important resource to change that. Guiding employees through wellness programs during working hours gives people the opportunity to make meaningful progress. Pairing that opportunity with trusted navigation amplifies the impact even more.
On-demand health assessments—either via onsite primary care or telehealth options—are popular and effective but only work if people complete them thoughtfully. Mental health and counseling options are among the most requested—and least used—employee benefits. Giving people an opportunity to have these sessions during working hours can massively increase engagement. The same goes for financial coaching, social connections, and, of course, career development.
Setting aside an hour each month for these activities uses just five hours per month—less than 3% of a full-time (40 hour/week) employee’s availability. If those programs are even marginally effective–reducing stress costs by just 25%—employers could expect to get back an additional five hours of productivity.
Put another way, spending five hours on wellness would yield 10 hours of productivity.
Instead of just looking for more resources to help drive wellbeing, organizations should start implementing on-the-clock programs that provide the opportunity for massive productivity increases by helping their people be happier, healthier, and wealthier.