Small Business Stress Reduction Program

workplace stressLet’s face it, times are tough. We’re here to help you get through it more easily.

For years now, perhaps, you and your employees have been asked to do more with less.

Maybe you’ve even had to remove or reduce some benefits; maybe even faced layoffs or reductions in force. And of course the economy continues to be challenging.  How happy (or how stressed!) are you and your employees these days?

As a small business owner, you care about your employees, and you’d like to be able to provide them more benefits like employees get at larger companies, but you just don’t have the budget.  I know, I’m a small business owner myself.  And stress isn’t just for people who work at the big organizations.  If anything, the stress felt at small businesses can hit harder and feel more intimately intertwined with all aspects of your, and your employees’ lives.  But the budget isn’t often there for a corporate wellness or stress reduction program.

I’d like to help you with that. As the owner of a small business (yes, I said that already right!?), and an expert in stress reduction and wellness, I set out to put together a program that would be affordable and effective, specifically designed for the small business owner.

This program has the personal touch that makes creating behavioral changes much more effective, and which frankly is difficult to deliver to the big Fortune-whatever companies.  It is a great fit, though, for your company or department of between 10 and 150 employees, and I’m excited to be able to offer it to you and your employees at a nominal fee so that your small business can provide an effective stress reduction program benefit to your employees!

Does your current small business stress reduction program look a bit like this?

small business stress reduction program

Why is a stress reduction program important?  Why should I care?

The real, measurable cost of stress in the workplace has been documented.  This is a cost that IS affecting you, your employees, your business and your bottom line.  Consider:

  • Stress is said to be responsible for more than half of the 550,000,000 workdays lost every year, and that’s just from absenteeism, not even adding in stress related illness. A million workers a day are estimated to miss work due to stress problems.
  • Burnout – a reaction to job stress, disables/handicaps almost half of all American workers at some time.
  • 60 to 80% of all industrial accidents are due to stress.
  • Workers’ comp payments for job stress have risen steeply in the last 20 years and may even bankrupt the system in some states. Job stress lawsuit payoffs average 4 times the amount of regular injury claims – and 9 out of 10 suits are successful!
  • According to Web MD, stress costs approximately $5,000 per employee per year in health care and employee engagement costs – that’s over $3 billion dollars in the US each year.
  • 40% of employee turnover is due to job stress. Xerox estimates costs to replace high level executives are about one to one and a half million dollars, and that worker turnover average costs are between $2,000 to $13,000 for each worker.
  • Forty-three percent of all adults suffer adverse health effects from stress.
  • Seventy-five percent to 90% of all doctor’s office visits are for stress-related ailments and complaints.
  • Stress can play a part in problems such as headaches, high blood pressure, heart problems, diabetes, skin conditions, asthma, arthritis, depression, and anxiety.
  • The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) declared stress a hazard of the workplace. Stress costs American industry more than $300 billion annually.

(sources: WebMD, and American Institute of Stress)

What does this look like in the workplace?

employee stress“A key sales associate lashes out at a customer. A successful sales representative begins losing repeat orders; customers complain that he is brusque and inattentive to their needs. A manager becomes impossible to work for; employees say that her outbursts are unpredictable. A conscientious employee begins leaving work early on a repeated basis. A high-performing production worker is no longer able to consistently make products that meet quality control specifications. Conflict between two frontline employees has risen to such levels that customers notice it when they enter the shop and wonder what’s going on” (Harris & Arendt, 1998).

These workers share a common malady; they are all experiencing high levels of psychological stress and are displaying their stress in predictable ways.  High levels of stress, if not understood and reduced, predictably result in high levels of employee dissatisfaction, illness, absenteeism, turnover, low levels of productivity, and, as a consequence, difficulty in providing high-quality service to customers (Organ & Bateman, 1989; Matteson & Ivancevich, 1987).  Burnout, a psychological process that results in emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and feelings of decreased accomplishment, is brought about by long periods of unrelieved job stress and is closely associated with decreased employee performance, higher absenteeism, and high levels of turnover (Gibson,Ivancevich, and Donnelly, 1994; Matteson and Ivancevich, 1987).

Employee stress affects customer service.

Employee stress affects customer service.

It can take months to land a new customer or client, and only seconds to lose them.  What is your cost of customer acquisition?  It’s much less expensive to keep a customer than get a new one, making the small investment in this program one of the best investments in terms of ROI that you can make.

It’s very clear that when stress accumulates—whether it’s at the worksite, at home, or anywhere in between—it has harmful effects on employee attitude, morale and work perfomance.  Stress also has extremely harmful effects  on the body. These effects include, but are not limited to, increased heart rate, blood pressure and muscle tension. Moreover, the association between stress and disease is colossal. Stress is connected to several conditions and diseases, including hypertension, chronic pain and a suppressed immune system, which can be responsible for everything from the common cold to cancer.

In fact, the association between stress and disease is about 85 percent according to the American Medical Assocation, and that’s not just a loose association; there’s a direct causal link.

Stress management, stress reduction, and stress relief can prevent so many problems.  And prevention is far less costly, and far easier, than the alternative. In fact, as you’ll see down below, there’s actually a measurable ROI for every dollar spent on stress reduction. So, if you’re still reading this page, then you already understand the impact offering an effective and cost-effective program could make to your employee morale, which increases productivity and that helps the bottom line.

Here’s what you and your employees receive as a participant in this year-long program:

  • Effective On-Site Stress Reduction and Relaxation Workshops
      • Hand’s-on training in mindfulness meditation in the workplace
      • An understanding of what happens in the stressed brain and how you can control it
  • A six-week online Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction program
      • Providing the reinforcement over time that solidifies the new, healthy, stress-combating behaviors
  • Benchmarking of your employees’ stress at program milestones
      • You will be able to see tangible evidence of the program’s effectiveness
  • Behavioral Change Audio Programs
      • Your employees will be able to work on their own on areas of interest to them
  • Discounts on Custom Smoking Cessation Programs, Anxiety Elimination Programs, Weight Loss Programs, Productivity and Sales Improvement Programs, and more
  • Monthly Teleseminars on Health and Wellness Topics that Matter
      • Topics like improving memory, ending procrastination, improving follow-through, better sleep and more

For years now, large corporations like HealthPartners and most recently Education Minnesota, the state’s largest teacher’s union, have taken advantage of our services, and now we’re offering this program to you, the small business owner with fewer than 150 employees.

Stress management, stress reduction, and stress relief can prevent so many problems.  And prevention is far less costly, and far easier, than the alternative.  What is your company doing to offset the costs of stress, and are those approaches as effective as you’d like them to be?

Relax ButtonThe program that addresses these issues is the ChangeWorks Small Business Stress Reduction Program.

What makes this program so effective and why should you choose ChangeWorks?

1. Our programs use NLP (Neurolinguistic Programming), meditation and hypnotherapy, which are proven to reduce the effects of stress, and even more importantly, build new coping skills, raising your ability to handle stress. Research has proven time and again the power of hypnosis to help people overcome stress, boost their immune system and improve their effectiveness. Hypnosis is a research-backed, complementary approach which has been approved by the American Medical Association since 1958. Hypnotherapy continues to gain mainstream acceptance as an effective tool for behavioral change, stress reduction and more.

2. In person training and guidance. While there are online and self-paced components of this program, which help to make it cost-effective, the foundation of the program is our live workshops on stress reduction, smoking cessation and weight loss.  Research shows that programs with a high degree of personal connection and rapport with a caring practitioner who spends time listening and working with people as people have a much higher degree of transferring the knowledge to actual behavioral changes.  And THAT is where the ROI happens for wellness programs.

3. Measurement of behavioral and attitudinal changes over time. Rather than just throwing some training at your employees and hoping something sticks, we benchmark their responses to stress at the beginning, middle and end of the year, and work with your management to ensure that we’re doing the best for your company.  Is there a stressful time coming up? Let’s schedule a workshop a few weeks ahead of it and design some extra support for your employees during that time frame so they have the best possibility of moving through that stressful event gracefully.  This is something large, impersonal programs just can’t offer.

Relaxation Consulting4. We speak corporate and we live small business.  Unlike the image of the swami-yogi stress reduction/relaxation consultant that real everyday business folks in Minnesota can’t quite relate to, we ARE real everyday business folks in Minnesota.  Cindy’s been a small business owner for over the “magic 5 year mark,” and prior to that worked in HR corporate training and development for a national service chain and in international sales for a Fortune 500 company.

5. Cindy’s proven method of teaching stress and anxiety reduction.  Cindy has taught this at local colleges, groups and to hundreds of clients.  Cindy describes her system in detail in her forthcoming book, “I’ve Tried Everything.”  The system is a completely different way of viewing the anxious brain.  It makes SENSE to people, it makes stress and anxiety control EASY and actually FUN.

This is a three-month program featuring both in person workshops, on site at your location, and a 6 week online Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction Course.  Your, and your employees’ stress reduction will be measured at the end of the program AND you will have the tools to keep your improvements.  Imagine how a less-stressed workforce will improve your everyday life, your customers’ experience and your bottom line.

No, it’s not expensive, even though it sounds like it would be. The costs of the program depend on logistics so the price is customized to each organization.  Contact us today to find out more.  Call 763/218-3231 or complete the form at the end of this page.

As you think about how our program can benefit your company, consider the following, which represent just a few examples of the thousands of studies that have been done on the benefits of stress reduction on employee health, morale and productivity:

  • Comprehensive scientific reviews identified 378 peer-reviewed studies showing that worksite health promotion programs improve health knowledge, health behaviors, and underlying health conditions.
  • A systematic scientific review suggests that the impact of lifestyle changes such as stress reduction on all-cause mortality in coronary artery disease patients compares favorably with cardio-preventive drug therapies.
  • In a large clinical trial with a population at high risk for developing type 2 diabetes, lifestyle intervention (weight reduction) was nearly twice as effective in preventing diabetes as pharmaceutical treatment with metformin (31% reduction).
  • Several scientific reviews indicate that worksite stress reduction programs reduce medical costs and absenteeism and produce a positive return on investment.
  • 18 studies indicate that stress reduction and health awareness programs reduce medical costs, and 14 studies indicated that they reduce absenteeism costs.
  • 13 studies calculated benefit/cost ratios and all showed the savings from these programs are much greater than their cost, with medical cost savings averaging $3.48 and the absenteeism savings averaging $5.82 per dollar invested in the programs.
  • Combined workplace health enhancement and risk management intervention strategies focused on lifestyle behavior change have been shown to yield a $3 to $6 ROI for each dollar invested in 2 to 5 years.
  • Hypnosis actually improves the immune system.  Researchers at Ohio State University have determined that hypnosis can actually prevent the weakening of the immune response that often follows periods of acute stress.  The study suggests that hypnosis may even enhance the immune status in some people compared to similar individuals who don’t use these interventions. (Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology)
  • Hypnosis reduces blood pressure long term.  In a trial which compared hypnosis with biofeedback or a combination of both for blood pressure reduction, both groups had significant reduction in blood pressure. However, at six-month follow-up only patients receiving hypnosis had maintained the reduction. (International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis; American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis)
  • Hypnosis is uniquely effective at reducing the impact of stress.  Recent research conducted on the brain shows that hypnosis gives a person the ability to control the amygdala, reducing its reactivity to stress. The amygdala is a section of the brain that involves emotion, creativity, and memory. Reducing the reactivity in the amygdala reduces the “fight, flight, or freeze” response and reduces reaction to emotional triggers. Reducing the activity of the amygdala allows the body and the body’s immune system time to heal, as this reduces the production of negative stress hormones in the body. (Warren, M.P. (2009). Talking to the amygdala: Expanding the science of hypnosis.)

Relaxed Workplace

If you’ve made it all the way to here, you know that this program can help you solve some problems. Maybe you’ve already decided it’s the right answer for you, right now. Or maybe you have some questions.  Either way, the next step is to contact Cindy directly at 763/218-3231 or complete the contact form below. 

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