In recent years, the misguided belief that a high-pressure work environment drives financial success has been debunked. A growing body of research reveals instead that the costs of a cut-throat workplace are far greater than the rewards. The key to creating a productive workplace is establishing a positive work culture.

The real cost of a high-pressure work environment:

Job-related stress is associated with a range of health problems, including high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, stroke and even premature mortality. As a result, health care costs at high-pressure companies are almost 50% higher than other organizations.

In 2015, the American Psychological Association estimated that over $500 billion and 550 million workdays are lost annually in the United States because of workplace stress. In 2021, the problem hasn’t gone away. Instead, the issue of job-related stress has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Gallup’s 2021 State of the Global Workplace report found that U.S. and Canadian workers are some of the most stressed people in the world. Fifty-seven percent of U.S. and Canadian workers said they feel stressed on a daily basis, an increase of eight percentage points since the previous year. The best way for employers to address the stress their employees feel is by taking action to create a positive work culture.

Workplace values are shifting and employees want to feel cared for.

The latest research shows that millennials, who currently make up nearly half of the workforce, want an employer who cares about their well-being above all else. Organizations that prioritize their employees’ well-being attract top talent and see greater returns on their investment over time. Employees who feel cared for are more resilient, more willing to learn, and show improved performance.


Strategies for employers to create a positive work environment:

Communicate positivity from the top down. CEOs should communicate their priorities clearly and frequently, empowering managers to pass those values onto employees. Leaders who are authentically invested in employee well-being are essential to establishing a positive company culture.

Practice empathy. A brain-imaging study discovered that when employees thought about an unkind boss, the areas of the brain associated with negative emotion and avoidance were activated. Recalling experiences with empathetic leaders, on the other hand, lit up the areas of the brain linked to positive emotion and sociability. Therefore, it is crucial for employers to understand and acknowledge how employees feel.

Encourage open conversations, even about problems. Research shows that employees who trust their leader perform better at work. Open communication creates a culture of safety which improves employees’ readiness to learn and innovate. When employees feel safe in the workplace, they feel empowered to look for new solutions to problems. In order to have meaningful conversations with employees, leaders should be humble, patient, and inclusive.

Exercise improves cognitive function, reduces stress, and increases endorphin levels helping employees to be more resilient and better manage stress. Show your employees how much you care about their physical, emotional, and mental wellbeing by adding Zeamo to your company’s wellness offering. And the best part? New clients get their first month free! Learn more here.