The escalating rate of workplace disabilities is causing businesses and consumers alike to revisit how they handle stress and health issues.
High stress, lack of exercise and other factors exacerbated by an aging U.S. workforce are contributing to an increase in the numbers of individuals receiving long-term disability payments each year, according to a new study from the Council for Disability Awareness.
This issue worries more than just older workers. The U.S. Social Security Administration projects that nearly a third of workers under 21 will become disabled before they reach their late 60s. Women, especially, are at risk at a time when disability claims filed by women is reaching levels almost twice the rate of men.
Especially unnerving is the fact that only 36 % of all employees are covered by long-term disability insurance. Clearly, preventive steps are in order to protect workers, the self-employed and businesses alike.
Today's high stress workplace, in which the traditional 40-hour work week is giving way to 50- and 60-hour weeks, has been linked by more than a dozen studies in recent years to increasing rates of depression, high blood pressure and obesity from lack of exercise ' all mental and physical health issues that can lead to long-term disease and disability.
Smart Ways Businesses Can Stave Off Climbing Disability Rates
1. Revisit long-term disability insurance coverage to stave off the later, higher costs of employee replacement.
2. Promote stress-reducing policies such as implementing mandated breaks every two hours and regularly scheduled wellness campaigns that focus on stress-reducing help from outside professionals.
3. Give attentive caring to ergonomic factors like lights, and seat and desks.
4. Encourage your staff to take part in activities that reduce stress. Feeling powerless on the job is a rising factor in the high price tag of lost productivity and rising employee turnover rates blamed on workplace stress.
Smart Ways Professionals & Employees Can Avoid Becoming Another Statistic
1. You can raise the state of your health as a main-stay of your career.
How healthy you are will prove of greater importance to your earnings and how long you can work. Exercise and eat healthy to avoid the long-term damage to your career from obesity, high blood pressure, heart disease, depression, diabetes and other disabling diseases.
2. Combat stress at work and at home.
What stressful situations can you avoid, change or better accommodate? Try turning off your cell phone and your computer several times a day. Take frequent exercise and mental breaks.
3. Take back control of your days.
Write your plans down. That form of commitment will help you exercise, work on stressful components and be healthier every moment of each day. Lack of control is a major contributor to stress. You can commit to keeping track of and being responsive to daily stress.
4. Consider purchasing long-term disability insurance on your own.
The advantage of this is that, in an era where changing jobs often has become the norm, you can take your protection against long-term disability from job to job. The insurance council has established a new Web site at disabilitycanhappen.org with good information on this subject.
With more aging workers, and more workers expected to work well into their 60s and 70s in today's economy, long-term disability rates will continue to climb. Self-employed professionals, business owners and employees can take smart steps now to avoid stress and adding to these rising statistics.
Reference: Ruth Klein is an award-winning business owner, best-selling author and marketing and time management consultant whose clients range from solo entrepreneurs to the Fortune 500.