Stress-Relief for Small Businesses
No one’s life will ever be 100% stress-free. Growing your business, working to meet a personal goal, dealing with life’s challenging moments … short-term stress happens. But when heightened anxiety becomes a lifestyle, it will almost certainly take a significant toll on well-being and productivity.
Big companies can cope with employees and managers who are temporarily distracted or overwhelmed. They typically have Employee Assistance Programs, and enough staff to keep the business moving ahead when an employee may not be functioning to their best of his or her ability. But small businesses often don’t have formal EAPs or redundant staff – so in order to survive and thrive, a small business needs everyone on the team to be at their best, as much as is humanly possible.
So how do you alleviate stress and its side-effects? In many cases, not having the information needed to make a smart decision is a major cause of anxiety. Guidance from experts who can help employees manage what seem to be overwhelming problems significantly reduces the effect of worrying situations. That doesn’t mean that you need a full-fledged EAP program, you can provide similar assistance to your employees with a comprehensive supplemental benefits package that includes health advocacy, medical billing negotiation, wellness guidance and health information services.
The Major Causes of Stress
Managing some types of stress – illness, loss of a loved one, and even happy changes like a new child or getting married – are beyond the scope of this article. We’ll be looking at stressful situations that are tied to issues that can be changed by better decision making and supportive short-term assistance from professionals.
According to the American Psychological Association (APA) the major causes of stress for many people on a day-to-day basis are work – particularly the “on call all the time” nature of many jobs now (technology ranked high as a source of stress in the APA’s 2017 study). Financial worries, family responsibilities (47 percent), and health concerns (46 percent) also continue to score high on the APA’s stress scale. This includes concerns over medical bills, caring for an adult parent, finding community programs for special needs, and getting medical advice and assistance conveniently and affordably.
The physical symptoms of stress include headaches, muscle tension, neck or back pain, stomach upsets, dry mouth, rapid heartbeat, insomnia, and fatigue. Typically, someone who is over-stressed will be unable to concentrate on their work and will be forgetful, irritable and short-tempered. Obviously, this impacts everyone in the work place.
Add Stress-Reducers to Your Benefits Package
Providing employees with access to affordable services that have been proven to reduce stress is a great investment in the success of your small business.
Look for benefits packages that include wellness/fitness support, medical bill negotiation, healthcare advocacy, and telehealth services. Obviously, you want to ensure employees will actually be able to use their benefits, so focus on finding benefits packages that provide free or discounted access to services. As an example, if employees can access free telehealth services for everyday ailments, they don’t have to stress about paying medical bills if your company provides a high-deductible health insurance plan.
Better Decision Making with Healthcare Information Services
Medical advice hotlines, such as Doctors Online, help reduce employee’s health worries by providing online access to a team of medical professionals – including physicians, psychologists, pharmacists, dentists, dietitians and fitness experts. Connecting with the right expert not only reduces stress, it also enables employees to manage their health more conveniently and effectively. Guided by trustworthy information, employees can make educated decisions on whether they need to visit a medical professional to address health issues or discover how to take better care of themselves with lifestyle changes or home treatment.
Wellness programs focus on keeping employees healthy, or support them in improving their health. Look for programs such as MyEWellness that provide personalized workout routines, health information, self-help assessment, and financial tools to assist employees in making informed decisions about healthcare.
Health Advocacy and Medical Bill Negotiation Services
As the healthcare system becomes ever more complex, getting expert assistance in navigating that system can result in reduced stress and substantial savings – for example, a medical bill negotiator can reduce the cost of existing medical bills by 25%-50%, on average.
And having a professional work the system for your employees reduces the time and costs involved in helping them understand their health insurance and other benefits. Few small businesses have a human resources person with expertise in sorting out insurance benefits, reimbursement claims and other healthcare issues. Providing access to a Health Advocate that can help assist in solving employee’s healthcare and insurance problems is essential. Health Advocates’ expertise also enable better decision-making for a wide range of issues including explaining treatment and medication options, finding community care resources, even finding the best medical provider or hospital.
:DP HealthNow for Smarter Healthcare Decision Making
Stress impacts everyone’s ability to make smart decisions. But with a plan like :DP HealthNow, you and your employees will get the assistance you need, when you need it. And :DP HealthNow is easy to manage and affordable – for both small business owners and their employees.