Let’s shift the narrative on health to focus on the root cause: workplace stress

Reeva Misra, founder and CEO of workplace stress resilience platform, Walking on Earth, reveals how technology can create a targeted approach to ending the workplace stress epidemic

How large of an issue is work-related stress?

Work-related stress is at an all-time high. It is reported that stress regularly affects around 80% of UK adults, and the World Health Organisation officially classified burnout as a syndrome caused by chronic workplace stress. These results are staggering when you consider that we spend roughly a third of our lives at work. When employee health is not met, the health of the business suffers. It’s estimated that 57% of annual lost working days are due to stress, anxiety and depression, and this costs businesses around £42bn a year.

I believe we should use this as a catalyst for change. The pandemic and current market conditions have also thrown a much needed spotlight on workplace stress. We have an opportunity to redefine the narrative that stress is necessary for success, and instead create workplaces that succeed by placing the health of their employees first.

What is the impact of stress on our health?

A certain degree of workplace stress is acceptable and unavoidable. But when stress builds up over time, it causes physiological changes in the body that compromise our immune system and increase our risk of developing chronic diseases. We are increasingly moving towards a world where the majority of diseases, currently over 70%, are chronic and have no medical cure. The only way to address them is through prevention, by changing our lifestyle to build healthy habits; sleep, diet, exercise, and building in periods of recovery from stress. Our current workplaces and healthcare systems just aren’t built to address our health in a preventative way.

My background in artificial intelligence and healthcare, combined with witnessing the benefits of preventative health solutions, led me to develop Walking on Earth (WONE), to end the global stress epidemic. Our platform quantifies an individual’s stress state and develops tailor-made intervention programmes based on a user’s specific profile.

How can WONE help to alleviate stress in the workplace?

Understanding your individual stressors is crucial to develop early warning systems to address your stress before it reaches a point of crisis. Providing solutions for breaking the cycle of chronic stress and making them accessible in a workplace is surprisingly simple. Neuroscience has shown that as little as a 60-second breathing exercise is enough to move from a heightened bodily stress state, to a calmer one, the parasympathetic state. It’s as simple as creating workplaces where employees can switch off for short periods in the day to destress, re-focus and improve cognitive performance.

WONE is built to address this need. Our platform centres around the proprietary WONE Index, designed with leading scientists to quantify an individual’s stress state. Our recommendation engine develops a tailored health plan consisting of live classes and content. All sessions are hosted by carefully curated experts that include neuroscientists, New York Times best-selling authors, TEDx speakers and world-leading practitioners. We monitor fluctuations in index scores over time and Provide feedback on changes in stress measures through engagement in
the platform.

Why should businesses invest in a preventative health solution for their employees?

Rather than the ‘tick box’ wellbeing benefits that serve as a plaster for unhealthy cultures, WONE is creating a category of its own: a health-tech company that benefits employees just as much as their employers.

Because, when employees are engaged, healthy and happy at work, they bring their best selves to work, go above and beyond what’s required, and are committed to helping the business reach its goals. Investing in a preventative health solution can provide a significant ROI, or cash savings against the cost of days lost to absenteeism or high staff turnover caused by chronic stress.

For more information, please visit walkingonearth.com

Promoted by Walking on Earth