News Article

Occupational Stress Takes Toll on Companies, People and Economy

By Anamary Olivas | Mon, 08/08/2022 - 15:05

Workplace stress is an issue for most organizations. It generates economic costs related to talent management and work accidents, in addition to a profound impact on wellbeing and, therefore, on results.


The International Labor Organization (ILO) estimated that work stress costs Mexico between US$5 and US$40 billion a year. “But the costs of mental disorders are not only quantified in monetary terms. What happens to the rest of the workers in a company where a person died?” questioned Patricia Elizabeth Cossío, Head of the Department of Public Health and Medical Sciences, the Autonomous University of San Luis Potosi (UASLP).


At the State Week of Safety and Health at Work, held in San Luis Potosí, Cossío pointed out that some ailments such as cardiovascular diseases are linked to the stress generated by work. “It is a phenomenon that we cannot ignore and that affects the day-to-day of all offices,” she mentioned.


Within the framework of her presentation Work and Mental Health, the expert indicated that occupational stress is caused by organizational structures that tolerate workplace violence, harassment and do not provide contract security, among other aspects.


Although sometimes mental disorders are caused by the individual context of each person, the truth is that there are still many challenges to prevent mental illnesses at the workplace.


“It is related to several problems, mainly with the organization of work, but also with an imbalance in effort and reward. It even seems that those who make the least effort are rewarded and those who do the most receive a bigger burden. This causes frustration in people. It is incredible how we can get up to work under these conditions, which instead of motivating us are crushing us,” she explained.


Among other aspects, the costs that a company faces as a result of work stress stem from the results of accidents, disabilities, absences, a loss of production and high staff turnover, among other aspects. Part of the stress generated by work, Cossío pointed out, is a consequence of a greater interest in business indicators and clients than in the wellbeing of workers. “Sadly, in most offices, the last thing that interests [leadership] is the worker, when they should be the first priority because they are the driving force of the workplace.”

Anamary Olivas Anamary Olivas Journalist & Industry Analyst