Corporate Stress – The invisible assassin

Stress & Corporate world are indivisible. Over the last decade or so, the corporate world has set high pay packages, great perks and affluent lifestyles to be norms rather than the exceptions. But all this comes with a free extra topping of stress, unbearable work pressure, unstable personal life and eventually loss of productivity to the very same Corporation!

Sudhir Pai - Corporate Stress

Any ambitious person having high career goals is going to be stressed at times. Stress has become so permanently interlaced into the make-up of the corporate world that many people have lost sight of what it is and what it is not. Workplace or Corporate stress can be life threatening!

Company Management are attempting to appear more employee friendly and coming up with several measures and programs towards employee welfare and development. Health Safety & Environment (HSE) figures prominently on several Corporate Agendas, particularly multinational companies. But surprisingly few have learnt smart ways to reduce workplace stress.

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HSE refers to BOTH physical and emotional wellbeing of the employees. How is this ever possible when you have managers with egos? What do these managers with egos do? They talk down to people; they put down subordinates; most decision they make is to satisfy their ego than to make sense. What do such egos do to the subordinates? They just destroy the self esteem and breed stress. Stress impacts the physical, mental and emotional health of employees and their productivity drops.

Ironically, it is not just the individual that goes down under stress, but the organisation too loses big time. Research in USA & Australia has shown that huge sums of money amounting over billions of dollars are lost annually in loss of productivity due to poor wellness of employees. If similar, honest research is done in India, undoubtedly it would indicate losses similar to the political scams prevalent in the country amounting to several thousand of crore rupees. While wellness issues are primarily attributed to lifestyle behaviours, stress has significant bearing on lifestyle activities. Loss of concentration, anxiety, memory loss, poor motivation, poor communication, poor performance, and even failure to imbibe newer skill sets can be attributed to stress. Stress goes beyond normal life when the individual no longer can manage it effectively.

Instances of burnout due to very high level of mental or emotional exhaustion thanks to long standing stress are on the rise.

So what could be a solution to this ever rising epidemic?

Company Management could take a major step in the right direction by elevating employee health to be an integral part of their human capital “asset management” strategy. Investing in the health of employees is just as important as investing in training to develop their skills. The issue is not what it costs to keep people healthy and productive but what it costs not to.

Yerkes Dodson curve

The Yerkes–Dodson curve is an empirical relationship between stress and performance, originally developed by two psychologists Robert M. Yerkes and John Dillingham Dodson, way back in 1908, which has been confirmed by several reaserchers.

Give managers and employees exposure to wellness initiatives so that they develop skills they need to perform effectively under high pressure. It dramatically benefits people in both their professional and personal lives, and also greatly enhances resiliency and productivity on the job. They can continue to work under pressure, however with much greater calmness and clarity of mind.


About Sudhir: After 24+ years in the corporate world handling Country Leadership roles with P&L responsibilities, Sudhir has started as an entrepreneur venture in the space of sales consultancy & training. With the growing need for the right healthcare and wellness programs in India, Sudhir has joined a team of ethical medical practitioners to make a difference in the way healthcare is managed and delivered in India.

One Response

  1. Joanne
    Joanne May 3, 2014 at 9:41 pm | | Reply

    So true. I went through such a horrifying experience having a manager being after me and had to quit. later learnt that he had a stroke at 38 yr. Sad. Ruined my life as well as his own.

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