Businesses across the country are in the spotlight for how they are acclimating to the swift economic changes of the last decade. Small businesses in particular are under the radar for how they recruit and retain employees. With common health trends focusing on holistic treatment and stress relief, one thing has become clear. It is that the number of employees seeking compensation over workplace-related stress is on the rise. For instance, in Australia, the number of workplace stress compensation claims has soared significantly since 2012. It is essential that small businesses must protect their reputation and finances to survive this new and growing trend.
To protect your small business from the burdens of work-related stress claims, consider the following ideas which may be implemented individually or all at the same time.
1. Offer Worker’s Compensation
The most effective way to protect your business from stress claims is to have a worker’s compensation policy. If an employee has medically documents effects of stress at work, a worker’s comp policy will help them pay the costs of healthcare. How exactly does this protect your business? Worker’s comp is a relatively inexpensive benefit for small businesses to provide, especially if your business is not involved with risky activities.
Worker’s comp encourages employees to get the help they need and get back to working at their best, keeping your business running smoothly. Work-related stress compensation also has a high likelihood of preventing a lawsuit against your business by employees who file a claim for stress at work.
2. Offer Solutions Before The Problem Hits
There are some universally accepted remedies for stress that you can offer your employees on a regular basis. This shows not only that you want your employees to have a routine for self care and stress relief but also that you genuinely care about your employees, a mindset that should reduce the stress in your employees right from the outset.
For example, physical activity is a commonly accepted way to cope with and treat stress for busy employees. To embrace this, you can offer discounted memberships to local gyms and recreation centers for employees and their families. The best part of this idea for you is that most gyms and recreation centers offer corporate discounts at no cost to you. This means that for just a few minutes spent filling out some paperwork, you can give your employees a long-term family benefit that they will appreciate and utilize.
To be more direct about it, you can bring the element of talk therapy into your business to help employees relieve stress. Many professional counselors will do brown bag sessions in the workplace to help employees process stressful situations. You can also establish a benefit program that gives your employees access to private counseling when necessary. This is particularly helpful during stressful times in the business overall. It is also a good way to show you care when an employee faces personal struggles that leak into the workplace.
3. Offer Compensation Without Being Asked
What if you break the norm and, instead of treating stress, actually offer compensation for stress at work? Remember that stress can be addressed in two ways: you can make sure there are protective policies and programs to treat stress after it shows up, or you can reduce stress from the outset by showing your employees that they are cared for and respected at work.
Look for ways that your business can actually compensate employees for addressing their stress in healthy, proactive ways. Perhaps you can have a policy for paid time of or personal days when employees need some stress relief, or maybe you can have incentive-based workplace contests and activities that encourage stress relieving activities. When money gets involved, either as an incentive or as something that won’t be taken away, people are more likely to take care of their stress. This serves both of your goals by reducing the occurrence of stress that interferes with business and also creates a fun, stress-free environment from the start.
Stress in the workplace can become a life threatening issue for small businesses, especially when the productivity of key employees and the threat of potential lawsuits gets involved. By implementing a few simple practices that both protect the business and create good will among employees, you can protect your business from work-related stress claims before they arise.