Stress has always been part of the workplace. Work needs to be done. Deadlines need to be met. Bosses need to be dealt with. In some instances, stress can be a motivator that drives employee productivity and performance. However, more study is being done on the causes and effect of stress at work, and for companies whose employees are feeling the strain, the results overall aren’t good.
Too much stress can actually drive down productivity as affected employees struggle with fatigue and such symptoms as upset stomachs, sleeplessness, headaches and muscle tension. Stressed employees miss more days of work, need more medical care than their less-stressed counterparts and often will find new jobs in hopes of escaping the stress.
The impact on companies and the overall economy are significant, and employers need to address the issue of stress among their workers. According to a recent study by Eastern Kentucky University (EKU), about a million people will miss work each day due to stress, and on average, a missed day of work by employees cost their companies $602 per employee per year. Health care costs for people who have reported being stressed at work are 46 percent higher than for non-stressed employees, and employees who don’t work to their full capabilities results in $150 billion in lost productivity every year. Meanwhile, companies that addressed stress at work had a much lower turnover rate and showed higher rates of employee satisfaction.
Employees: Employers aren’t doing enough to relieve stress
The issue of workplace stress is a far-ranging one. The EKU study found that 40 percent of workers found their jobs to be very or extremely stressful, and 29 percent said they are quite a bit or extremely stressed at work. Another study by Harvard University said that 20 percent of working adults say they have experienced a great deal of stress at work in the previous 12 months. Another 37 percent have experienced some stress at work.
Stress is the fourth largest health concern at the workplace, and here is something companies need to know: most stressed employees don’t feel that their employers are doing enough to alleviate the problem. In the Harvard survey, 49 percent of working adults say their companies’ efforts to reduce stress are fair or poor, and among those who reported a great deal of workplace stress in the previous 12 months, 85 percent rated their employers’ efforts at fair or poor.
Employers need to keep this in mind. There are myriad causes of workplace stress, from heavy workloads and struggling with work/life balances to a lack of job security, changes at work and, more recently, talk about world events with colleagues.
And here is something else that we at Zinwave found in our own recent survey: about 35 percent of workers said that a poor indoor cellular signal in the office contributed to workplace stress, and 74 percent of those surveyed said that they frequently or sometimes experienced poor coverage at work. In addition, employees are increasingly pointing the finger at their companies or building owners – rather than at wireless carriers – when looking for someone to blame for the spotty indoor cellular signals. Fifty-eight percent of Millennials – who range in age from 18 to 34 and are becoming a larger percentage of the overall workforce –said they are more likely to blame their employers for the problem.
Frequent indoor cellular coverage problems increase workplace stress
The global workforce is becoming increasingly mobile and technology-literate, and employees who are living more of their lives online expect constant connectivity, not only in their personal lives but also when they’re at work. When that connectivity is disrupted or the service is poor, their levels of stress go up and their performance can be impacted, neither of which is good for their company. Employers bottom line can be negatively impacted due to low productivity and the loss of talented workers if indoor cellular connectivity is spotty.
The risks and challenges can be seen in what workers at warehouses and distribution centers told us in our survey. More than 45 percent of respondents said that they experienced frequent problems connecting, with 82 reporting some level of difficulty, forcing many – 32 percent – to leave the building in order to make a call or connect to the internet. Forty-one percent said that poor cellular service caused them to feel more stressed, and 26 percent said their productivity declined because of it.
Relieve stress by eliminating coverage problems
According to the EKU study, there are a number of steps some employers are taking to manage stress in the workplace—creating better work-life balance, rewarding employees with programs like 401K matching or cost-of-living pay increases, or employee-involvement programs and growth-and-development efforts. The Harvard survey also talked about wellness programs that address everything from weight loss and gym discounts to smoking cessation and stress and chronic disease management.
For companies with poor indoor cellular connectivity, they need to find a solution that will boost cellular signals but also one that is spectrum- and technology-agnostic so that the needs of all their employees are met. The need for constant connectivity will only grow in the coming years, and having the right future-proof infrastructure in place – systems that can support multiple frequencies and accommodate current and future wireless services – will help reduce the stress employees may feel now and prepare the company for the technologies and demands that will arise in the coming years.
Learn more from our Cellular in the Workplace survey report.