18 Jun

The ‘hands-on’ solution to work stress and low productivity

Research on workplace stress, initiated by the American Psychological Association, released in March this year showed that among 1,501 adults aged 18+, residing in the US, more than one-third of American workers experience chronic stress – attributed to low salaries, lack of opportunity for advancement and heavy workloads. Closer to home and experts in the growing wellness industry believe the situation in South Africa is not a great deal better and becoming more serious daily.

In 2012, it was reported that workplace stress resulted in a loss to the country of approximately R3 billion per annum.

It is a recipe for disaster unless businesses are prepared to invest even more in the wellbeing of their employees says Martina Laurie, CEO of Hands on Treatment, an established mobile massage company based in Johannesburg.

Hands On Treatment has been a Proudly South African member since 2003 and in 2007 received the Proudly South African best SMME Service award. It also has a level BEE 4 status and is in the process of obtaining a level BEE 2 status.

The core focus of the business is to provide employees and personnel in businesses with professional massages – an offering that is done at the client’s premises, with no impact on operations and no downtime required.

According to Laurie all sectors and industries are prone to workplace stress, but there are certain segments where the effect of this type of stress becomes quite obvious.

“The call centre environment is one example. Staff are usually confined to a desk and to strict supervision amid high stress levels. Agents have specific targets and there are usually screens to indicate calls waiting, those dropped etc. – it is a stressful environment,” she explains.

Amongst the more common complaints of the effect of stress on individuals is back ache, neck ache and headaches. “Really the type of issues usually associated with long hours at a desk in front of the computer,” Laurie adds.

However, it is not just office workers who feel the impact of stress on their systems. High pressure, deadlines, targets, Key Performance Indicators and the like are common to many businesses and business environments, both in the public and private sector.

Fortunately, the up side is that according to Laurie, there is a greater understanding amongst decision makers to pay more attention to this facet of management. “Stress at the workplace is receiving more attention from management and a mobile massage service is no longer simply considered ‘a nice-to-have’ or gimmick,” she says.

Laurie and her team have established a highly successful mobile massage service based on the straightforward principle that a seated neck and should massage is a necessity, not a luxury.

“We provide an essential service to people in the workplace. HR is a critical asset for businesses and our view is that owners ought to invest in the wellbeing of their staff in order to sustain productivity levels and make the business profitable. Our clients have well thought through staff wellbeing programmes in place – this service is an extension of these programmes,” she explains.

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