Current statistics suggest 11 million work days are lost to UK business each year through staff absence caused by work-related stress. The cost of that – either in reduced productivity and profit or in additional staffing cover runs to billions of pounds.
In fact, stress is right up there with back pain as the leading reasons given by employees for taking time away from work.
Worse, workplaces with high numbers of staff suffering with work-related stress also tend to suffer poor employee satisfaction levels which in turn drives high staff turnover and creates issues around consistency in quality and delivery.
Whichever way you slice it, if you have an employee suffering with work-related stress, you have a problem.
That’s bad enough, but it gets worse for businesses if the employee can demonstrate that their employer didn’t do enough either to prevent the stress in the first place, or to look after that employee properly when they were told about the problem.
The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) has the power to fine employers who have either not carried out a risk assessment to protect the emotional and physical wellbeing of their staff or have done the assessment but have failed to implement or act upon it.
HSE fines of up to £20,000 are not uncommon.
The irony is that dealing with stress in the workplace isn’t really all that difficult. It just takes a willingness to understand the problem and the commitment to invest time, effort and a little money to tackle it properly.
Acupuncture is a brilliant and extremely cost-effective way of helping your employees to overcome whatever stress they’re under because it actively promotes the natural healing processes in the body – and those are as critical to good mental health as they are to physical wellbeing.
Stress is toxic. Not just for you as an employer because of the negative impact it can have on your success, but also because of the other health issues that it fosters.
Anxiety disorder, insomnia, reduced natural immunity, digestive disorders that can lead to serious health problems, depression and coronary health are all conditions that are commonly linked to stress.
Whilst acupuncture can’t remove the negative external stressors in your life, it does help the body to better manage that stress because it encourages the production of oxytocin, a hormone which regulates the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS) – also known as the rest and digest or calm-connect system.
An impaired PNS – in which stress plays a major role – has also been shown to lead to autoimmune conditions such as arthritis, lupus, inflammatory bowel disease and rheumatoid arthritis.
Quite apart from being enormously relaxing in its own right, acupuncture also rebalances the body’s natural energy flow, identifying and removing the blockages that damage emotional and physical health.
Every day I see people at my clinic who are struggling badly with the pressure of work. Business is under pressure to do more for less and that pressure is often transferred to the employee, either in terms of demanding more time for the same pay, creating unreasonable demands around deadlines or objectives or constantly moving goalposts.
I also know there are still unreconstructed employers who dismiss stress as being all in the mind and refuse to acknowledge it at all.
And although I kind of understand that business has an imperative to generate profit, business owners have a moral and legal responsibility to look after the people who help them to make their money.
Investing in regular acupuncture for your teams – or subsidising private acupuncture sessions as part of an employee benefit scheme – costs less than you might think and can generate huge benefits for your organisation.
This ancient Chinese treatment has been proven to get results for more than 2,000 years. If you have a problem with stress-related staff absence in your business, why not get in touch for a chat and see how we can create balance for your business and your employees?