The surprising yet common issue that's costing you heaps of money

Workplace stress costs SA R3bn annually: Now is the time to consider improving company culture.

Stressed workers are costing their companies a lot more money than initially thought.

In case you didn’t know, having stressed employees costs your company real money. Don’t believe it? Consider this your wake-up call!

The People Element did a survey in which they found that stress affects working relationships, happiness at home, and subsequently, your company's bottom line. They report that every year, up to R3 billion is wasted in South Africa due to stress related issues at work.

But how are you losing money?

Employees that are stressed stay absent - and it’s not just that the same stressed employee stays hoe too often, it’s that more than one employee is stressed and stays out of work. Being short staffed on any day leads to lower productivity.

Read: What is the rand value of a good company culture?

On days that they do pitch, your stressed employee makes more errors, and is more likely to be involved in work accidents - not to mention spreading the ‘bad mood’ or ‘demotivated’ germ to colleagues by causing unnecessary tension among staff, e.g. ever notice that co-workers are sometimes touchy about not being greeted with a smile?

Unhappy employees (this includes but is not limited to the stressed ones) are more likely to pursue better opportunities elsewhere. Which, when they leave, means you’ll have to deal with a higher turnover rate. The recruiting process can be expensive, especially if it has to be done repeatedly.

You’ve probably never thought about this either...

Imagine how many opportunities you’ve missed. Think about it: stressed employees are less creative, less effective decision makers and inadequate communicators. If your employees operated at full capacity, new avenues for your business could have been realised. But they weren't.

If you're still not convinced, you'd be smart to remember that your employees could take you to court for stress-related issues. The CCMA and Labour Law court of South Africa protects your employees' rights quite well. This means that besides the indirect cost of stressed employees, you could actually have to pay for damages if ever there's a dispute - consider the legal fees too.

It is important that as a leader within your organisation, you identify the causes of stress. You need to actively find ways to minimise the negative effects of stressed colleagues so that you can start saving more and start making more.

Read: Why company culture is management's problem

Common causes of stress in the workplace

- Frequent physical danger

- Highly automated and repetitive tasks

- Medical insurance complications

- Frequent isolation and minimum opportunities to interact with others

- Lack of opportunities to build social support networks

- Personal issues

- Chronic work overload

- Workers’ compensation

- Constant change in requirements, procedures, schedules or even supervisors.

- Unusually prolonged deadline pressures.

It is of paramount importance that you adjust your company culture to minimise stress and its effects. If you too are feeling stressed out at work or no someone that is, share these 7 techniques to refuel.