Canadian employees are stressed out! Stress takes a physical, mental, and social toll on employees and harms the bottom line for employers. Today, we’ll take a closer look at the costs of stress, and how workplace wellness programs, including massage therapy, can mitigate its effects.
A quick look at workplace stress
In 1992, a United Nations report called job-related stress “the 20th century disease” and almost 30 years later, that still rings true. According to Statistics Canada, more than 6.5 million Canadians—aged 12 and above—consider most days quite a bit or extremely stressful. And for employees who report high stress, 62 percent of them say work is their biggest source of stress.
This is bad news for employees and businesses. Chronic stress is associated with anxiety, depression, and physical symptoms including chronic pain, headaches, digestive trouble and getting sick more than usual. Anxious and overloaded employees aren’t nearly as productive as employees who enjoy good mental health—and the costs are staggering.
In 2016, the Conference Board of Canada reported that depression cost the Canadian economy $32.3 billion a year, while the cost of anxiety came in at $17.3 billion a year. These high costs are one reason employers are introducing and expanding workplace wellness programs.
Reducing stress with workplace wellness programs and employee benefits
Well-designed wellness programs help employees manage stress. McGill University followed participants in a workplace wellness program for one year and documented improvements in physical and mental health measurements, including blood pressure, sleep quality, emotional stress, and fatigue. This study showed that the people who participated the most in the wellness program made the most improvements.
Wellness programs vary from business to business but often include one or more of these elements:
- On-site massage therapy, fitness centre, and meditation and/or prayer room
- Employee assistance programs (EAP)
- Lunch and learns
- Group fitness and/or wellness challenges
- Smoking cessation courses
- Indoor bike parking
- Wellness apps
- Flexible working hours
Businesses use wellness programs and employee benefit plans to attract and retain skilled workers. But to meet the needs of diverse workplaces, employee benefit plans now go beyond RRSP-matching and basic medical and dental coverage.
Flexibility is trending in employee benefits; employers are increasingly offering healthcare spending accounts and wellness spending accounts that allow employees to spend their benefit dollars on the health and wellness solutions they want. But even standard benefit programs typically offer paramedical coverage which means you can see registered healthcare professionals—including psychotherapists, registered massage therapists, and chiropractors—to help you manage the physical, emotional, and mental symptoms of stress.
Stressed out? Use your work perks!
If you’re an employee with benefits and workplace wellness programming—and you’re under stress—please remember what that McGill study found: the more you use the program, the more results you’ll get. What you use is up to you; consistent self-care over time is a solid plan for reducing stress. If you’re not sure what your work perks are, talk to your manager or HR representative and find out what benefits you have and how to use them. Then start using them!
Massage therapy: a known stress buster
The American Massage Therapy Association reports that 66 percent of people who get massages do so for relaxation and stress reduction. Massage therapy also helps people manage pain and fatigue, and it even boosts the immune system. That’s probably why so many people love using their benefits for massage!
We’re here to help you look and feel your best. If you’d like to manage your stress more effectively and bliss out in a relaxing spa environment, give us a call to book a deep tissue massage and a hot towel foot treatment.
Feel great, look great with Hand & Stone Massage & Facial Spa.
Massage. Facials. Waxing. At Hand & Stone, our registered massage therapists will help relieve tension, soothe tired muscles and ease headaches. Interested in our facial services? We know radiant, healthy skin reflects how you look and feel. Hand & Stone’s facials are performed by certified estheticians and we are proud to offer Dermalogica®, YonKa and Diego Dalla Palma products so you can enjoy a bright, beautiful complexion between regular appointments.
We’ll help you look and feel your best, affordably! Call today to schedule your appointment! We’re open 7 days a week with extended hours and gift cards are available for all occasions. Contact us today!