Stress is an inherent part of the work of many managers in Poland. One in three senior specialists admit that they experience it on a daily basis. Unfortunately, this affects not only the wellbeing of managers, but increasingly the effectiveness of the entire team, which is a challenge for HR departments. Fortunately, there is an effective tool to combat this problem. According to data from the MultiSport Index 2023 report, 67% of employees believe that a physically active supervisor would be a better manager.
According to the MultiSport Index 2023 report, as many as 68% of managers declare that stress accompanies them at least once a week, of which every third (35%) struggles with it every day or almost every day. The same percentage of management staff admits that stress resulting from their professional work also accompanies them after working hours. Moreover, one in ten managers admit that they have taken sick leave due to poor wellbeing or mental problems. However, the consequences of a stressful lifestyle can go much further.
– The effects of stress, including work-related tension, have psychosomatic, social, and economic dimensions. For humans, the most severe consequences of chronic stress are various health disorders. Today it is known that there is a relationship between long-term stress and cardiovascular diseases. Some data indicate that as many as 40% of all heart diseases are the result of chronic stress – says Dr. Dorota Molek-Winiarska, psychologist and doctor of social sciences in the field of management sciences.
The Benefit Systems report clearly shows that for 83% of employees in Poland supervisors’ inability to cope with stress has a negative impact on their effectiveness. This is most clearly visible among representatives of Generation Z – as many as 94% of people aged 18 to 24 share this view. The impact of supervisors’ stress on everyday work is also more often noticed by women (88%) than men (80%).
– A modern approach to HR in organisations requires paying special attention to the mental condition of the management staff. Stress is not only an individual problem of superiors, because it also directly affects the people they manage. A stressed manager creates a domino effect in the team, which ultimately translates into lower efficiency of the entire company. On the other hand, a well-implemented people management strategy that includes anti-stress programmes brings tangible benefits for enterprises. Employees identify more with a given organisation and become more engaged and motivated. Unfortunately, according to our research, almost half (48%) of senior white-collar workers and 61% of all employees in Poland admit that their employer does not implement any activities supporting their mental wellbeing – emphasizes Małgorzata Frankowska, HR Director at Benefit Systems.
Physical activity: a must have in reducing stress
According to Dr. Dorota Molek-Winiarska, there are four types of intervention that have particularly positive effects in reducing stress: physical activity, cognitive-behavioural techniques, mindfulness, and relaxation.
– Of all these techniques, physical activity seems to be the most effective in removing the effects of the stress reaction [...] A huge number of scientific publications indicate the correlation between physical activity and wellbeing, emphasising the impact of the former on both physical, mental, and social welfare. It is important to practice physical activity at work and outside of work. Managers should create time and task space for these activities – adds Dr. Dorota Molek-Winiarska.
Dr. Iwona Piątkowska, PhD in physical culture in the field of biomedical sciences and expert in the Health Full Time programme, has a similar opinion. She reminds us of the fact that regular physical activity acts as a brake pedal for the amygdala, the brain’s epicentres of anxiety, fear, and stress response. It is therefore not surprising that currently the most common way to relieve stress among employees in managerial positions is exercise (57% of respondents).
According to the MultiSport Index 2023 report, systematic exercises have a significant, positive impact on the psychophysical condition. This is confirmed by physically active respondents: 89% of them claim that regular physical activity reduces stress and bad emotions, and 95% say that it has a positive effect on wellbeing.
Sports revolution in management
From the perspective of employers, an interesting aspect is that, according to employees, regular activity has an impact on effective team management. As many as 67% of them agree that a physically active supervisor would be a better manager. Among those who exercise regularly (at least five times a week), as many as 73% share this opinion. As many as 81% of owners of private enterprises also agree with it.
– The workplace is a perfect space for campaigns familiarising employees with the benefits of physical activity. It is worth combining access to sports cards with access to the knowledge of experts who will make employees and employers aware of how regular training translates not only into heart and brain health, but also into immunity, motivation, and the ability to concentrate. Fewer sick leaves, greater employee commitment and efficiency are benefits for the entire organisation, not only for the individuals who constitute it. That’s why I see a huge role for employers in regularly promoting and supporting employees’ physical activity. It will be a win-win situation – emphasises Dr. Iwona Piątkowska
Senior Communications Specialist Benefit Systems