Is it just me, or was stress something that the Americans developed in the 70s?
Us Brits have been anxious for centuries, but the US seemed to find a way of apportioning blame for the condition when arguably a stiff upper lip, a shrug and an acceptance that ‘That’s Life’ could have simplified matters for many.
Not that personal injury solicitors or psychotherapists will condone that statement, of course.
Where there’s blame, that’s a wallet ready to compensate for it. Nowhere moreso than in the workplace.
However, new research undertaken by Cleveland Clinic – no, it’s not in Stoolbend – suggests that putting potentially stressed staff through its paces with a web-based stress management tool may cut down on long-term absences associated with the condition.
Absenteeism not a major chagrin for either a stressed out employee or their employer.
The ice becomes thin when stress has a contributory factor (allegedly) to a knock-on symptom, especially when it becomes life-threatening and it’s proven that the anxiety is indeed work-related.
It’s then that personal injury claims are launched, with the solicitors knowing full well that as long as they can support the claim, the case is in the bag.
Employers need a hand, a tool to at least put them on a level playing field with these extremely knowledgeable injury lawyers, to help protect themselves against stress that may, in the end, not be caused by anything directly occurring in the workplace.
With the development of online programs to combat PSS (Perceived Stress Scale – wouldn’t it have been good if they’d fitted an ‘irrational’ in there before ‘Stress’, too?), it looks like employers at least stand a chance against personal injury claims if they can afford the time to put their employees through the program.
Candidates for study had his PSS rates to begin with
The three hundred employees who were the guinea pigs for the Cleveland Clinic study each had their PSS measured at the beginning of the eight week course. Their stress score, if you will.
During the almost two months of being subjected to meditation techniques, strategem for coping with stressful situations and the ability to self-asses their stress levels, stress levels were reduced.
At the outset, the mean stress score was just above 23 per employee. The people chosen were prime for the PSS course as your average Joe runs at around with stress levels of 13, in comparison.
After forty days with relaxation methods at hand, that score of those at the mercy of executive stress did see their scores drop, on average, by 6.12 full points, bringing their stress levels down to within what was deemed an acceptable level compared to those not exposed to potential heart-stopping stressful moments on a daily basis.
Personal injury solicitors know when stress is liable to become distress
On reflection, you have to say that outcome is, for employers, a result. Stress, if left unchecked, can build up all sorts of internal conditions like blood pressure, premature ageing and irrationality (see, I could have slipped into the acronym quite naturally) as well as mental issues.
It’s when stress peaks and one’s body struggles to cope that is costing industry millions of dollars each year in both absenteeism and money personal injury solicitors manage to extract from employers who subject their staff to situations detrimental to their health.
It may also mean that employers, as well as being able to say in a court room or tribunal that they did everything in their power to relieve potential stress, save on healthcare costs by implementing strategies like PSS.
You’d have to think that GE, who funded the Cleveland Clinic research in an attempt to see what it could do to reduce lost days of production and no doubt several thousands in the claims courts, is pretty pleased with the outcome.
How much help with stress do you get at work?
In all seriousness, offering employees ways to deal with anxious moments whilst at their desktop sounds like a winner, especially for large firms like GE whose compensation bill, one would imagine, is pretty horrendous.
For smaller firms, who perhaps have neither the budget nor manpower to administer PSS, having a stress-free office may be nothing more than PSSing into the wind.
However, if you are interested, an overview of the program developed by Cleveland Clinic is available here as a pdf, entitles Stress Free Now: