I received an interesting email in response to my article and blog post on companies encouraging mindfulness at work. (Mindfulness is a stress-busting technique that focuses on being reflective rather than reactive) The email came from a reader who believes companies don't care at all whether their workers are stressed out.
Here's what reader Julio Ugarte wrote to me:
"Maybe a few businesses are willing to practice this (mindfulness) but the majority of Corporate America is not in that bandwagon. Have you checked the Post Office lately? How about all the retail businesses? What has to happen is that not only they practice "mindfulness" but also "COMPASSION". Starting from the CEO on down. Apply this to their WORKERS! After all how are you going to change Corporate America when they are making the biggest profits in years treating their workers like GARBAGE!"
"I wish what you write becomes true. I can only pray that it will happen. But that is not what is happening now in Corporate America."
Julio, you have a point. As a nation, our job-related stress levels have soared. People feel under pressure if the demands of their job are greater than they can comfortably manage. Other sources of work-related stress include conflict with co-workers or bosses, constant change, and threats to job security.
Businesses are making efforts to promote wellness, which in the end enhances their bottom line by reducing health care costs and curbing absenteeism. But do you think employers realize their workers are stressed out? Are they reading the signs such as aggression, depression, impatience and even physical illness?
Employers could help reduce stress if they wanted to. Just to start, they could make sure workers are properly trained for their jobs, provide an outlet for communicating grievances, and staff appropriately.
Julio convincing argues that businesses don't care about their workers' stress levels. Readers, I'd love to hear your thoughts… Is interest in helping workers reduce their stress levels isolated to a few employers?