The statistics of stress at work. Why you and I are responsible for it.

Plenty of studies report the extent of stress and burnout cases in the corporate world. We can read and be appalled by such number and this is what I did while looking for facts and statistics as I prepared for an interview I was giving this week. But honestly, how useful is it to read, to hear and to know about statistics. Are they enough for us to take action and change the status quo? They should and this is exactly why we shall take action and bring a shift in the way we work and relate to stress.

More than 5 billions Swiss Francs. This is what stress costs to Swiss companies every year. Among Swiss professionals, every 4th person experiences time stress often if not constantly (and this goes up to 40% for working women with children). An employee who goes through a burnout will be missing from his desk in average 30,4 days a year.

Stress costs more than 5 billions Swiss Francs to Swiss companies every year.

Now what do these numbers tell us and what can we do about them? Are they so huge and imposing that we do not dare to question them? Or is it enough to know what the reality of stress and business life is like out there. Probably yes. It is easy for us, for our managers and for HR to read about them, maybe even to raise our eyebrows and to mention them in a meeting or in the coffee break. But is that really it? To me, there is a major question that I believe we should ask ourselves when it comes to such facts and to statistics in general. Is it my responsibility, is this in my scope of action? And if it is, what can I do to bring a change?

The answer, you might guess, is yes. No matter if you are an employee, a business owner or a big corporation. We all have what it takes to change the reality of stress at work and how we relate to it. And once again, the shift comes from within.

We all have what it takes to change the reality of stress at work and how we relate to it.

Companies have a responsibility towards their employees.

According to the SECO (State Secretary for Economic Affairs) and to the Swiss labour law, companies have the duty to provide their employees with a safe and stimulating work environment. This means an environment in which employees can remain healthy physically, mentally and emotionally. An environment in which the workload is adapted to the resources available in the team, in which the motivation stays up and the sick leaves stay low. So as a company, look inside your processes and organization, go in and ask your employees how much pressure they handle, how their health and their sleep have been lately, if they need any help which could be provided through business coaching, physical or mindfulness activities such as corporate yoga or team building events directly at work or outside the office. Once you acknowledge that it is you responsibility as an employer to care for the well being of your workforce - and ultimately of your business - you will see a whole range of improvements available to you.

Companies have the duty to provide their employees with a safe and stimulating work environment. Once you can acknowledge this as an employer, you will see a whole range of improvements available to you.

We have a responsibility towards ourselves.

Each of us has the power to change our outlook on stress and until we stay in a relation of victim to stress, we will not have the strength nor even the awareness to change this. The key here again, even though it might sound harsh at first, is to shift from blaming the outside and start looking inside instead. There is no such thing as “not having time”. “Not taking the time” is what it comes down to and this is no one’s but our own responsibility and choice. We are the ones to decide when we need a break, when our body needs a stretch. We have to be aware when our mind is not capable of functioning effectively anymore, to detach from our screens and come back a few minutes later with a refreshed outlook. We are responsible for expressing our thoughts and challenges to our colleagues and to our hierarchy, instead of doing what we are given without informing them that we have reached our limits.

There is no such thing as “not having time”. “Not taking the time” for ourselves is what it comes down to.

To create such a shift at the organizational and individual levels, yoga can help. If you still need more facts and numbers, the Yoga Journal has listed myriads of studies that have been conducted around the world and prove the positive benefits of yoga on our professional and personal life. At REAL LIFE YOGA, we bring very simple yoga methods, which you can even use directly at your desk and which help you day after day - at work and in the way you work - to become a more aware, empowered and resilient version of yourself.

  

Do you need further guidance? Then reach out to for a 30 min discovery call. Together we will take a closer look at the challenges that you or your company faces and find the rights methods to make this shift happen.

Sources: Job-Stress-Index 2016, Zeitstudie from Sotomo quoted in article from SRF.