The Consequences of Stress for companies. During the week of work stress (2018, TNO), research was carried out into the job satisfaction of the Dutch person. 

Below we share the conclusions and translate this into practical matters that you can implement: 

The Consequences of Stress (work-related)

Work-related stress: A common problem on the work floor. In recent years, the number of employees experiencing work-related stress has increased alarmingly: More than 16% of all employees report suffering from burnout complaints. Almost one in six employees suffer from these types of complaints. These complaints not only occur in people who have worked for a considerable time. In fact, the results express mainly young employees ranging from the mid-twenties to the mid-thirties. 

Research shows that many employees share the opinion that work-related stress and work stress risks are still insufficiently addressed by their employers. Around 16% of employees who were surveyed, reported receiving very little social support from their employer. More than 19% indicated that they felt that the manager was not listening adequately. And as much as 21% felt that his or her supervisor hano interest in the welfare of the employees what so ever. 

Employees who do not feel heard have a smaller chance of a rapid recovery. Acknowledging the seriousness of your employees’ complaints is very important. A manager who is aware of the stress complaints of his or her employees creates more trust and a better working atmosphere. If a manager does not do this, a downward spiral often develops, in which the employee does not always feel like they are being taken seriously, therefore stress complaints continue. In addition to the suffering of employees, this problem also has major consequences on the business. Absence costs can increase considerably and arranging replacements can be expensive. It is therefore imperative that organizations take action. 

Also read: Increasing the feeling of safety lowers absence!

work related stress

The Week of Work Stress 

The above-mentioned figures came to light after an investigation into work-related stress in the workplace of the TNO. Every year since 2014 on the initiative of the Dutch Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment, a study is conducted within the framework of the Week of Work stress. The Week of Work stress was introduced to reduce the number of employees with work-related stress complaints. Here, organizations are encouraged to take more measures to reduce work stress. Here the focus is mainly on the prevention of stress and burnout complaints. Prevention of work-related stress and burnout is not only financially wise but also reduces suffering among employees. 

The results following the investigation are somewhat alarming, Because work-related stress on the work floor can only be minimized if employers and employees work together, it is important that both parties take responsibility. It is very important that employers research the factors in their organization that causes stress among their employees. For the time being, employers do not seem to have enough discussions with their employees to evaluate how the present work stress can be reduced. Meanwhile more and more companies are seeing the benefit and trying to take measures against stress on the work floor. More than 200 companies and organizations are already participating in the Week of Work stress. That is already a good start, but there is still much more to be gained by the reduction of work-related stress and burnout. 

Read also: employee with stress

Big Consequences for Business 

When work-related stress is not tackled, the problem is often accompanied by a big impact on business. The increasing work-related stress on the work floor also involves sharply rising costs. Put simply, it means that work-related stress is inherent in absence from work. An increase in stress at work means an increase in the number of sick reports. The costs of this continue to increase. In 2015 The occupational stress-related absences cost €7,800 per employee. In 2016 these costs had already risen to €8,200 per employee. A considerable increase.  

The total costs to employers increased from 2 billion euros in 2015 to 2.5 billion euros in 2016. An increase of no less than 25%! Naturally, the number of sick leave days also increased, from 7 million in 2015 to 9 million in 2016. Work-related stress was increasingly mentioned as a reason for the height of the above figures. For example, in 2015, 16% of employees indicated that their absence was related to workrelated stress, but this number rose to 19% in 2016 and grew to as much as 20% of employees in 2017. 

financial damage due to work stress

Work Stress Disproportionately Distributed Across Sectors 

When we take a closer look at the various sectors, we see that the percentage of employees who experience work-related complaints can vary considerably per sector. In education, healthcareand industry, most work stress is usually experienced by employees. In these sectors, the work pressure is often high. For example, more and more employees are expected in healthcare. They often have to do the same job with less support or see their job responsibilities grow, while they do not get more time to carry out their work. 

Since the causes of work stress lie mainly in matters such as too great a workload, or work that is emotionally consumingexplains why work-related stress in the healthcare sector is high. That is why it is of much value for organizations in this sector to see what they can do to reduce stress in the workplace. 

Work Stress Must be Discussed 

Another problem is the taboo that still appears to exist on topics related to stress and burnout. The fear of not being taken seriously when making their complaints know often dominates employees, and they are often afraid that they will be labeled as frail and weak, therefore, have fewer opportunities later in their jobs. On more than one occasion, work-related complaints also arise because employees get given too many things to cope with at once and do not dare to refuse or delegate tasks. 

When employers can recognize stress complaints in the workplace and discuss them, it saves a lot of money and suffering. It is very beneficial when an employee suffering from stress complaints knows that his or her employer thinks emphatically. A lot can be achieved through employee and employer cooperation when employees are asked what they need to reduce stress complaints. For example, solutions may be that the employee’s job responsibilities are (temporarily) adjusted, or that there is a group discussion with the team. 

The moment a safe environment is created in the workplace, employees are more comfortable to express when things are not going well with them. A good way to give employees the opportunity to do this is to organize a team discussion or a so-called ‘stand-up’ on a regular basis, in which team members can not only indicate what they are doing, but also what they are currently struggling with. These ‘stand-ups’ are already a daily necessity for many people who work in the office environment, but are less commonfor example, in the healthcare sector and industry, whereas it is in precisely this sector that the workload has increased considerably in recent years. 

Read also: Is burnout a fashion phenomenon?

discuss work stress


The Consequences, And the Solution of Stress

If there is one thing for sure, that is the fact that fun on the work floor causes the number of sick reports to drop rapidly. Employees who indicate that they feel valued at work, report sick much less than employees who feel that their commitment goes unnoticed. 

One of the most important requirements for having fun at work is working in a team where you feel at home. You would think that adults can deal with each other in a respectful way, but bullying in the workplace is more common than you may think. Approximately 12% of all working Dutch people admit that they sometimes suffer from bullying behavior from colleagues. Yet this bullying behavior often goes unnoticed in the victim’s environment. 

increasing work pleasure


For those who are experiencing bullying, they are often afraid to come forward about the situation. They would rather accept it and try to ignore the bullying behavior than report it or deal with itBut Day in, day out, dealing with bullies at work can lead to a lot of stress and eventually even a long-term absence of an employee. It is important that victims of bullying can go to an appointed person, that is why it is recommended that all organizations have a reliable confidential counselor. Only half of all organizations have a confidential adviser. Which is a shame, because confidential advisers can help to prevent undesirable behavior within an organization. They are impartial and can support and receive victims well. In addition to appointing a confidential adviser, it also helps to make it clear that all employees should be treated respectfully amongst everyone in the company. 

Increase Team Feeling 

Another way to increase pleasure on the work floor is to offer activities that promote team building. By using these activities, employees learn to know each other better and the trust they have in each other grows. It is advisable to also allow managers to participate in this type of activity because they also make more visible who they really are. Stimulate team building by organizing special activities. An example of this is a company outing. Take for example to spend a weekend in the Ardennes as a team and to undertake survival activities together. Increasing the feeling of team can be done very easily, get creative and organize team building games in the workplace. 

If you know each other, it is easier to have fun together and you are more willing to take extra steps for other people in your team or organization. 

activities that encourage team work

Investing in Job Satisfaction 

Investing in job satisfaction is, therefore, a great approach to reducing stress complaints. However, 96% of employees indicate that they experience a lot of social support from colleagues. This gives them the feeling that they are not alone when their situation is stressful. In addition, the freedom to determine their own working hours can result in happier and more productive employees. This is already an option for some 51% of employees. Finally, job satisfaction increases when employees feel that they can continue to develop. If you feel that your employer encourages you to regularly upgrade or refresh your knowledge and skills, you feel valued, confident and satisfied. At the moment, 74% of employees feel that their employer would like to contribute to this. 

Read on: Internal mobility


Preventive Approach for Companies 

Organizations can do a lot to ensure that the number of employees with stress complaints decreases. The best way to achieve this is to take preventive measures. By tackling the problem at the root you ensure that the organization does not keep running after the facts. 

In more than 80% of cases, organizations do not intervene, although they could have done so. This brings valuable forces home, while they yield nothing. Managers benefit greatly from following training in burnout prevention. During such training, they learn how to recognize signs of burnout among employees, and how to best address this. They also learn how they can best help employees with work-related stress. Here, working on communication is an important point. 

The moment the communication between manager and employee runs smoothly, the feeling of safety increases for the employee. The aim is to give an employee with stress or burnout complaints the feeling that everything is negotiable. By adjusting the settings early when stress complaints are first signaled, it can often be prevented from getting worse and return absent employees back to the workplace where they are of more benefit to the company. 

Read on: stress prevention


Many workers find it pleasant to experience a sense of autonomy. Therefore as a manager learn to make your teams as self-managing as possible. Having and showing confidence ensures that employees feel motivated and involved more quickly. Nobody gets better when a supervisor is constantly watching him. Employees appreciate that you are involved in the tasks they carry out, and concerned about their ups and downs. As a manager, it is apart of your role to convey this to your employee’s.

What is the cause of work stress?

Vitality of Employees 

The vitality of your employees contributes to the reduction of stress in the workplace. Some employers believe that the responsibility for this lies solely with the employee and underestimate what they can do to contribute to this. It is wise to consult your employer to find out how you can contribute to the vitality of your employees. Take a look at the food on offer in the canteen, for example. Do you off enough healthy products? Are there opportunities to move around in the workplace or an onsite gym? And what about you with the balance between work and rest? By looking at these factors and adjusting if necessary, as an organization you can already contribute a lot to the vitality of your employees. 

Who Are We?

Milltain, with a team of experienced trainers, supports organizations in the prevention of stress and the (re) finding of work happiness in the workplace. Our training courses are aimed at managers within companies. A burnout quickly costs the organization € 70,000.

In addition to financial suffering, human suffering is high. Not only for the employee but also for close colleagues who have to deal with the blows. Before you know it you are in a negative vicious circle.

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