There is no doubt that stress is one on of the leading factors in illness and absenteeism among employees. Besides lowering a person’s immune response, stress makes us want to avoid whatever is causing it. If there is stress at work, workers who feel mildly off will feel even worse and resist coming to work. This costs many hours of productivity, especially when key personnel or production workers are absent-in fact, it’s estimated that $300 billion is lost on stress-caused illnesses and absenteeism.

A workplace that supports stress management through workplace wellness programs not only helps their employees to handle pressure better and stay healthier during times of stress, it also sends a message that their company cares about them. This provides emotional support as well as physical support for fighting the effects of stress.

How a Workplace Wellness Program Can Help

When your employees are stressed, very likely there is one primary cause and several secondary causes. For instance, a worker may suffer stress due to poor interpersonal relationships with other workers and problems communicating. Addressing stress will help the worker feel better and regain connections to other workers, thereby reducing the stress in those areas.

Although a workplace wellness program can’t de-stress everything a worker faces-like layoffs, cutbacks, firings, etc.-it can help with the physical effects of stress and help the worker cope when getting the pink slip. A healthy employee will have enough energy to move on and find another job but the unhealthy employee may suffer even more physical maladies from stress and plunge into depression. An employee who is watching others get fired or laid off will always be thinking, “When am I going to get the axe?”

There are several steps you can take to reduce job stress.

*Get a clear job description to avoid miscommunications that cause stress, and to make sure you are doing tasks within your sphere of responsibility only.
*Get a new job. While this is not always an ideal solution, sometimes it’s the only one-a workplace wellness program will help with the stress of this change.
*Find supportive agencies and programs to help you either deal with the stress-such as the workplace wellness program-or find a new position. Isolation is destructive.
*Change positions within the company. Perhaps your training is not in the field where you are working, or you are being asked by a supervisor to do things far outside work hours and described responsibilities. If you like the company you work for but hate your job, this may be the answer.
*See if your company has an employee assistance program, which is sometimes part of a workplace wellness program, if there are layoffs and firings going on around you. If so, use these services even if you have been told you will remain at the company-things change daily in the business world.