Stress has been described as the smoking of our generation, costing the Australian economy more than $15B per year in work absenteeism and lost productivity. 73 per cent of Australian workers are stressed about work and many are turning to their employers to find a solution; 85 per cent of workers believe that employers should create an environment that proactively addresses stress in the workplace.
Over 20 years in psychology and organisational communications, I’ve seen first-hand the impact of stress on people, their employers and companies at large. Sadly, whilst organisations have visibility of the huge impact, the rate of change, let alone prevention, remains stagnant. Many small to medium businesses, however, are in a better position to be able to impact change. With greater agility and flexibility, small to medium businesses are better able to implement new practices and technology to help their employees.
I left corporate Australia in 2016 when it became clear the solution to our stress epidemic needed to come from outside. I set up my own small business to provide companies with guidance on how to address these issues using technology and this is where Pioneera was born.
Through our partnership with SheStarts, we’ve been trialling Pioneera in ANZ Australia’s corporate offices to help manage staff stress levels. We’ve gained some great insights from this trial that are transferable from an enterprise to small to medium businesses and their owners.
I never expected to be running a start-up but it’s the best vehicle to solve this looming health crisis and I’ve learnt a lot along the way. Here are some of my tips to other SME owners on how to manage stress within their workplaces:
Danielle Owen Whitford, Founder, Pioneera