Employee stress is rising – and Wellness Weeks aren’t the answer

It’s no secret employees today are under rising pressure to do more with less. According to the American Institute of Stress -- yes, there is such a thing -- 75% of employees believe job pressures are increasing. Maybe that explains the growing trend of companies offering “wellness” perks to their employees. You know the gist:  office meditation rooms, 10-minute chair massages, and of course the infamous semi annual “Wellness Week.”

Spoiler alert: Wellness Weeks aren’t really making anybody well. Don’t get us wrong, we love a free smoothie as much as the next person. But perks don’t automatically offset the systemic stress felt by employees who are burned out, stressed out, and tuned out. They’re drowning trying to manage it all while employers throw them a toy floatie in the shape of a free blood sugar test. It’s time to embrace the truth. Wellness isn’t a separate, fun “extra” thing that employees get as a perk for performance. Wellness is the foundation of performance.

The Stress Impact

Just consider the impact of fundamentals like sleep, rest and stress management. Studies have found sleep-deprived employees are less motivated, have difficulty focusing, remembering things, and making good decisions. Another study found employees who took 2.5 hours in exercise breaks during the work week were more productive, even though they worked less hours. Meanwhile, one million employees are missing work each day due to stress, according to the Health Advocate.

So why aren’t companies doing more to mitigate the impact of stress on the very people who impact their bottom line?

Take athletic coaches and trainers, for example. They’ve  realized an athlete’s mental game mattered just as much, if not more than, the physical game. That’s why high-performing athletes train mentally, too. They need to be strong and smart.

Consider today’s employees as corporate athletes. It’s no longer sufficient to offer training and development in technical, role-related skills (Intelligence Quotient, or IQ), and it’s not enough to train in relational soft skills (Emotional Quotient, or EQ). Leaders, employees and teams need to be able to quickly pivot and leap over hurdles. They need to stay focused in the face of a thousand distractions and use resilience to get through the  long game. These are the skills the modern employee needs  to thrive, not just survive.

 

The Athletic Quotient

At Strong Training and Coaching, we call these skills the “Athletic Quotient.”  AQ is how you work with yourself – your resilience, agility, focus, winning mindset, and ability to manage stress. Employees, leaders, and teams need to build these skills as a foundation. AQ is not a once-in-a-while bonus or perk for a job well done, it’s the key to a job well done. It is a core skill set and needs to be incorporated into our daily routines, our training, our rewards and incentives, our goals and performance reviews, and so on. Just like a diet and exercise routine, employee wellness should be treated as a lifestyle and supported everyday, all 52 weeks of the year.

Strong Training and Coaching has for 20 years trained employees not just be smart, but strong. We help close the employer/employee gap, training at all levels in the creative industry and beyond! Contact us to assist you in empowering your employees to adapt and evolve: hello@markstrongcoaching.com

  More resources:
Stress.org
Employee Productivity Stats
Forbes: The Cost Of Stress