Will healthy and robust payment networks help to alleviate stress and manage physical health?
As we approach the end of the year, corporations worldwide are focusing on the numbers. We are reconciling expenses, considering budgets and managing taxes so that we can end the year as fiscally fit as possible. Technology and innovation continues to lead us forward in the effort with systems and tools in place to create efficiencies and mitigate error. Smart businesses are looking at the big picture by analyzing the climate and focusing on analytics to help inform decisions. These companies are also utilizing state of the art applications and critical insights to strengthen payment networks in order to maximize profitability. So, while business is proactive in the financial health of the company, what is being done to protect the health of the company culture, and more specifically the health of their employees?
The holidays and the end of the year can be the happiest time of the year but also the most stressful time of the year. To make it worse, stress can be magnified if people are working in an environment where tension is pervasive. Productivity requires the speed, details and schedules that can add to an already hectic time. Recent studies have estimated that work-related stress is costing the United States over $300 billion a year and can be blamed for 120,000 deaths per year. The study goes on to indicate the four main causes of stress:
- Workload – as many companies brace for the end of year, workload increases and timelines are shortened.
- People Issues – personalities in the work place are one of the most difficult to manage especially in a stressful time where workload is expanded.
- Juggling work and personal lives – spending time with family is particularly important around the holiday season where work schedules add conflict.
- Lack of job security – job insecurity makes up 6% of the main causes for stress among employees.
Harvard Business School goes on to add even more causes for stress in business.
- Fear of unemployment
- Lack of health insurance
- Exposure to shift work
- Long work hours
- Low job control
- High job demands
- Low social support at work
- Low organizational justice
Considering the fact that these stressors have very literally been responsible for 120,000 deaths per year, dealing with them is of life or death importance. So, while companies are focusing on the numbers by leveraging payment optimization and robust payment networks, many others are focusing on their human resources as a priority with the knowledge that it will pay off in productivity and profit. We are seeing a shift in how business is developing cultures in order to retain talent by keeping them happy and healthy — the result is higher productivity. People like to be productive particularly when they are working in a healthy environment, and a healthy environment does not just mean a stand-up desk.
We have heard a lot recently about the impact of the millennial generation has had on business, and while some headlines have called the generation selfish, the truth is that their concern for taking care of themselves has led to a positive effect on the way companies are developing culture. The generation who is purpose driven is also most interested in a healthy self and a healthy environment. They care about balance in work and in their personal lives, and they are looking for companies who can offer that.
The University of Michigan offers these 10 tips for creating balance and they are considerations that are translating to the way company leaders are managing culture.
- Value yourself: Treat yourself with kindness and respect, and avoid self-criticism.
- Take care of your body: Taking care of yourself physically can improve mental health.
- Surround yourself with good people: People with strong family or social connections are generally healthier than those who lack a support network.
- Give yourself: Volunteer your time and energy to help someone else. You’ll feel good about doing something tangible to help someone in need.
- Learn how to deal with stress: Coping with stress is critical in environments that you cannot control. Stress strategies and exercise will help to maintain a balance. Develop emotional intelligence to deal with difficult people.
- Quiet your mind: Mindfulness and relaxation can improve state of mine and encourage positivity.
- Set realistic goals: Decide what you want to achieve and write down the steps you need to realize those goals.
- Break up the monotony: Although our routines make us more efficient and enhance our feelings of security and safety, a little change of pace can perk up a tedious schedule.
- Avoid alcohol and other drugs: Keep alcohol use to a minimum and avoid other drugs.
- Get help when you need it: Seeking help is a sign of strength — not a weakness.
With these considerations in mind, corporate managers are beginning to focus on the individual in order to strength the whole. Health programs have been initiated internally, volunteerism is becoming a dominant aspect of a healthy corporate culture, and addressing toxic people and situations immediately is a priority for enhancing the culture by maintaining the happiness of internal teams. Meditation rooms and yoga classes are becoming a norm whether they are set up internally or utilized externally. We are a nation in need of physical health as well as mental health, and implementing these tactics are helping to keep our business cultures thriving.
While payment optimization systems like integrated payables and robust payment networks are important for the numbers, the people who are managing them are even more important. Companies will do well by recognizing the stress or the potential of it by addressing it immediately. It is not an overstatement to say that millions of dollars could be saved which is nothing next to the lives that could be saved.