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We know that employee stress has a direct effect on individual productivity, but a new survey by ComPsych Corporation provides some hard statistics on stress and work. Read on for five reasons your stressed-out teams are slowing down the company's growth.

  1. Increased absenteeism. Nearly 15 percent of respondents -- 14.9 percent, to be exact -- said that stress causes them to miss days from work. You may think they just have a bad immune system, but the truth is that at least some of the time, they're playing hooky out of necessity.
  2. Missed deadlines and mistakes. Over 20 percent of the surveyed employees directly attributed stress to missed deadlines and mistakes in their work. Not only is work taking longer to get done on the first pass, but mistakes are causing additional slowdowns.
  3. Lack of focus. It's hard enough for some workers to focus in an office environment; add in extreme levels of stress, and you have a perfect recipe for distraction. Over 56 percent of respondents reported that they had trouble focusing due to stress. When this manifests in your office, employees may look like they're working, but it'll take longer for them to complete tasks than usual.
  4. Tardiness. That once-bright employee who is suddenly 15 to 45 minutes late several times a week? Chalk it up to burnout -- over 14 percent of employees said that job-related stress increased their lateness.
  5. Intrapersonal difficulties. Over 15 percent of ComPsych Corporation's survey participants said that stress on the job made it difficult for them to connect or get along with superiors and coworkers.

Previous studies have shown that 71 percent of U.S. workers say their office is a "significant source" of stress, so it's well worth monitoring and managing. How can leaders decrease stress in the workplace? I suggest fostering an office culture that values exercise and meditation, or enabling workers to telecommute, even if it's just one day a week.

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