Stress in the Workplace: A Global Issue

Workplace stress is an issue that virtually every organization faces. Whether it stems from personal or financial matters, or is generated by the work environment itself, stress can have a substantial negative effect on an organization’s performance. A recent report by United Nations’ International Labour Organization (ILO) examined several studies to quantify the impact of stress in workplaces around the world. Work-related depression in the European Union alone is estimated to cost a whopping €617 billion. In the face of such staggering costs, what can employers do? The ILO identifies several measures employers can implement to mitigate these costs, ranging from social support systems where workers feel comfortable discussing conflicting demands between work and home, to training and education that provides information on psychosocial risks. It also provides a comprehensive list of tools for the assessment, management and prevention of risks and work-related stress for various countries and in multiple languages that employers can readily utilize. And while it’s important to be aware of what tools are available to help manage workplace stress, recognizing potential barriers for implementation is also key: taking a regional perspective, the study found that while limited understanding of psychosocial factors and work-related stress is one of the most prevalent barriers to implementation in the Americas, it’s less of a factor in Europe and Central Asia. The strategies described in the report, which are summarized in a recent Huffington Post article, provide a valuable checklist for international employers in particular to evaluate their efforts to create a positive and healthy work environment. 

Hand in hand with stress management practices, health management policies are vital to the overall well-being of an organization’s workforce. The HERO Health and Well-Being Best Practices Scorecard in Collaboration with Mercer© - International Version (an online assessment tool designed by the Health Enhancement Research Organization and Mercer) provides an up-to-date inventory of best practices that can help employers identify gaps and opportunities, assess their programs against industry norms, and assist in strategic health management planning for companies based outside of the U.S.  With the US and International versions of the HERO Scorecard available, organizations now have a consistent tool to assess their health and well-being efforts in worksites around the world.

Go to full article:

Emily Ferreira
by Emily Ferreira

Associate, Health & Benefits Survey Research, Mercer

Register for Mercer US Health News to receive weekly e-mail updates.