Stress is a common and serious issue that affects many employees in the workplace, often having a negative impact on an individual’s physical and mental health… and on their performance and productivity at work.
In fact, according to a recent report, the American Institute of Stress (AIS) found that 83% of U.S. workers suffer from work-related stress, and around one million Americans miss work each day because of stress.
For obvious reasons, having a workforce of stressed employees can negatively impact your business. Staff morale and company culture can suffer. Absenteeism can go up while retention goes down. And productivity can decline.
Employers have a legal obligation to ensure the workplace is safe and healthy for employees. And Stress Awareness Month (celebrated in April) presents a great opportunity for employers to address any factors that may be causing unnecessary stress for employees.
The impact of work-related stress.
Stress can lead to a range of health issues such as anxiety, depression, heart disease and sleep disorders. Stress in the workplace can also negatively affect a person’s ability to focus, make decisions and complete tasks. So it’s important to raise awareness of the impact of stress at work, and to help protect the health and wellbeing of employees.
Raising awareness about the causes and solutions to stress has many benefits, including reducing absences due to stress-related issues, which can be financially beneficial for your business. Actively working to reduce workplace stress also sends a message that the company cares about the wellbeing of its employees, which can help create a more positive and supportive work culture within which employees are more likely to speak up if they feel stressed.
Ultimately, companies that prioritize the wellbeing of their employees and take steps to reduce stress in the workplace can create more positive, productive and healthy work environments for everyone. All of which can boost retention and improve recruitment efforts, too.
Here are 4 ways to help reduce work-related stress for employees:
There are many steps that you can take to reduce stress for employees and create a more positive and supportive work environment. Some strategies include:
1. Encourage employees to speak up.
It’s important for employees to know that help is available if they’re feeling overwhelmed by stress. Encouraging people to speak up if they feel stressed means you’ll find out when stress is occurring so you can provide the help and support they need, and ensure the stress doesn’t escalate.
A great way to offer support to employees who feel stressed is by providing access to counseling services or employee assistance programs (EAPs) that provide confidential counseling and support services. It’s also a good idea to promote the contact details of these services in communal areas and restrooms.
2. Prioritize employee wellbeing.
A healthy lifestyle is key to reducing stress. As an employer, you can promote healthy habits at work by encouraging employees to take regular breaks and get away from their desks at lunch time.
Organizing lunchtime walks or exercise classes can entice employees away from their desks. What’s more, exercise releases endorphins, which boost happiness and help remove toxins from the body. Yoga, meditation and mindfulness techniques are also great ways for employees to switch off from the stresses of the day.
3. Promote a healthy work/life balance.
You can help employees achieve a better balance between work and home life by offering flexible working options that allow employees to work the hours that best fit their lifestyles and from the locations that lead to the greatest productivity.
It can also be beneficial to promote a culture of only doing work in work hours. This culture can be strengthened if it’s led from the top down. For instance, if the senior leadership team is seen to be leaving the office on time and taking lunch breaks, those actions will encourage employees throughout the organization to do the same.
4. Improve communication and transparency.
By making sure employees are informed about what’s happening within the company and what’s expected of them, you can help reduce uncertainty, which can be a major source of work-related stress.
Encouraging 360-degree feedback throughout your organization is another way to boost transparency and understanding across the teams.
Are you looking for ways to create greater awareness of work-related stress throughout your company?
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