Why you need workplace wellness programs

  Mental health problems are common in the general population. While it is true that work can promote people’s mental health, it can also pose risks. Stress, for example, is a common phenomenon. In fact, it is one of the most serious health problems today, which not only affects workers to cause them physical or mental disability, but also employers and governments, who begin to assess the financial damage they cause. Symptoms of stress are one of the most common causes of absenteeism from work, somatic illness and productivity decrease. How to influence individual factors, organizational and ergonomic relationship work stress and mental workload has been studied for a long time. That can give us a clue of how important it is. This is the reason why it has increased the interest for researchers of occupational health.

        Moreover, the quick increase in the researches on job stress has been linked to the need to study it in relation to the development of Burnout Syndrome. This syndrome was firstly described in medical institutions, but today is applicable to other companies (startups, large multinationals …) with some differences. The best known definition of burnout syndrome is the one from Maslach and Jackson, who described it as a multiple state of emotional exhaustion, physical and mental health caused by chronic stress. The syndrome is characterized by three factors:

a) emotional exhaustion, which refers to a reduction in the emotional resources to act, accompanied by somatic and psychological,such as anxiety and irritability.

b) depersonalization, which refers to the development of cynical attitudes, impersonal and insensitive to colleagues and customers.

c) lack of personal accomplishment, refers to the perception that the chances of achievement at work have disappeared, along with experiences of failure and feelings of worthlessness.

       The things that stress us (what we call “life stressors”) do not affect everyone the same. It will depend a lot on vulnerability, the type of situation and coping tools that each person have. Coping mechanisms are personal factors involved in the occurrence of burnout syndrome, strategies used by individuals who try to manage work stress and mitigate the negative consequences that have been described.


           Companies and institutions have exposed the need to worry about the quality of working life they offer to their employees. Today, it is considered essential to include aspects of wellness and health to assess the effectiveness of a particular institution (such as work stress management), since the onset of burnout can cause serious problems for service providers and customers (a person who feels irritated and  unsuccessful will not offer the same treatment to a client than one employee who feels satisfied and cheerful).

            Although this workplace health programs are important, it’s true that a thing that affects to the low satisfaction ratings may also be an out-growth of the use of ineffective work-life balance programs. While employers offer an average of nine work-life balance programs to employees, these do not always include those with demonstrated effectiveness. For example, a compressed work week has been shown to be the most effective intervention for reducing unscheduled absences, but less than half of the employers surveyed by the Commercial Clearing House offered such a program. This highlights the importance of selecting work-life programs with demonstrated effectiveness in improving employee health and reducing stres, burnout and absenteeism.

Picture from http://www.workingworld.com/articles/10-ways-to-escape-job-burnout