Stress is a part of most jobs these days, but constant employee stress can actually be harming your bottom line. While the average amount of employees disengaged and overstressed at work is reaching 70% in leading UK sectors 1, companies are being faced with the bills that preventable, stress-related chronic diseases produce. It’s been noted that companies spend more than £29 billion a year on sick days in the UK alone 2, which is nothing to sniffle at.
A recent survey conducted by Trades Union Congress (TUC) of around 1,000 professionals found that “stress has increased across all areas of the UK” with the top three professions registered as the most stressed included the central government (93%), education (89%) and health services (82%).”
The takeaway from this survey is clear: stress is becoming a bigger and more widespread problem across the country.
Earlier this year we rolled out a major pilot with AXA/PPP Healthcare to offer employees access to our platform, and now have some pretty exciting conclusions to share with you. The pilot itself was the largest field study of workplace stress of its kind and our focus was on transforming the way organisations use data to help individuals understand their health, connect the dots and manage their wellbeing by providing personalised interventions based on artificial intelligence (AI).
From the pilot, we found that most users showed signs of not recognising symptoms of stress, reporting to ‘Feel’ less stressed when their physiological stress was increasing. However, during the study, we uncovered that high ruminators (the process thinking about work outside of work) existed amongst staff.
The pilot showed an independently verified link between rumination and HRV (heart rate variability) measures, and taking into consideration that there is already a proven link between high rumination levels and cardiovascular disease this is a major findings when considering that preventable chronic diseases account for 70% of company health care spending and insurance claims 1. Our work aims to combat this lethal threat of constant stress and high HRV levels in employees.
When participants simply did a Deep Breathing session with the corporate version of our app Hear and Now, the results were phenomenal. On average, each participant’s physiological stress was reduced by 23% within 15 minutes of using the app and a 10% reduction in physiological stress was still in effect 75 minutes after a session.
1 HealthLeadersMedia.com: CBO Scoring Shortchanges Preventive Healthcare Spending, 2012
2 Gallup State of the Global Workplace, 2013