HomeBusinessHealthy minds, healthy business: the link between employee stress and productivity

Healthy minds, healthy business: the link between employee stress and productivity

In today’s climate, the recognition of healthier, happier workplaces is no longer a luxury but a necessity. Studies show that companies who commit to improving employee wellbeing not only generate higher profits but also command higher valuations. This shift is exemplified by ongoing phenomena like the “Great Resignation”, “Quiet Quitting”, and the ongoing impact of COVID-19 on employee mental health.

The economic impact of mental health:

The undeniable link between employee stress and productivity levels has been well-established. Poor mental health can significantly impact a business’s bottom line, with studies revealing that it costs the South African economy up to R200 billion annually. These costs manifest through absenteeism, presenteeism (working while ill), and high staff turnover. Employers often observe decreased productivity levels in highly stressed employees, leading to issues such as reduced motivation, diminished creativity, lack of innovation, and difficulty concentrating.

Moreover, stress does not stop at the individual level; it permeates through entire organisations. High-stress environments can harm team morale, trigger communication breakdowns, and initiate a vicious cycle of falling productivity, increased pressure, and heightened stress levels, all of which impact overall business performance.

Modern problems require modern solutions:

To address this critical issue, businesses must implement strategies to reduce stress and prioritize mental health as a cornerstone of their corporate wellness programs. Companies like YuLife, a tech-driven financial services provider on a mission to inspire life, do this by advocating for initiatives such as flexible work hours, remote work opportunities, and access to counselling services through Employee Assistance Programs that support employees effectively in managing their stress. In an era where the dynamics of the workplace are undergoing rapid transformation, YuLife is leading the charge in redefining employee wellbeing.

“YuLife is at the forefront of this transformation, advocating that employee wellbeing should not only be an important consideration, but it is now a business imperative,” says Jaco Oosthuizen, managing director of YuLife South Africa and co-founder of the YuLife group.

“YuLife believes that employee benefits can play a pivotal role in creating workplaces of the future. This happens by creating comprehensive employee benefits packages, which include robust mental health support and demonstrate an employer’s commitment to their team’s financial, mental, physical and social wellbeing. These services, ranging from counselling and therapy sessions to access to virtual healthcare professionals, not only help individuals cope with stress and other mental health issues but also contribute to a more positive, productive work environment,” he continues.

In addition to tangible initiatives, creating an environment of psychological safety is paramount. Businesses are encouraged to cultivate a vulnerable environment where open dialogue around mental health is encouraged. This assists in reducing the stigma around mental health and will help to foster an atmosphere where employees feel comfortable discussing their mental health without fear of judgment.

The role of technology in promoting wellbeing is also emphasised. Digital tools and apps can facilitate stress management, offering mindfulness practices, cognitive behavioural therapy techniques, and sleep aid strategies.

About YuLife:

YuLife is reimagining the insurance industry by protecting lives, rewarding living, and inspiring life. Through their award-winning app, they use behavioural science and game mechanics to reward employees for living well while offering protection in times of crisis. Their top-rated employee assistance program provides access to mental, financial, and social support, nutritionists, life coaches, and more to help employees live their best lives.