May 27 2017 - A certain amount of stress in the workplace is a good thing. Stress motivates us to perform and keeps us going when we have deadlines to meet.
In small bursts, most people can cope with stress, but long-term stress leads to
anxiety and reduced performance.
In most cases, stress is a reaction to overwork and excessive demands of the job, but poor workplace relationships, organizational change, a lack of management
support, or outside pressures also cause stress. Unless you address the problem, the employee will become increasingly unproductive and may eventually burn out completely.
Employers and HR departments need to recognize the signs of stress and find ways to deal with
employee stress and anxiety effectively. By implementing the following
strategies, you can boost productivity.
Recognize the Signs
You can't deal with a problem if you don't acknowledge it exists. Employers and HR professionals need to be alive to the fact that stress is a major problem in the
workplace. Around 40% of sick days are because of stress related ailments, which is a lot of preventable time off work.
Monitor employee absence rates and schedule informal reviews if there is a regular pattern of sick days. Employees under stress will appear anxious, irritable, and
less engaged. Their productivity will fall and they may make more mistakes than usual.
Encourage Employees to Report Problems with Stress
Management style is critical when dealing with stress. Telling employees to 'get on with it' is not helpful. Stress is an illness. Encourage employees to come to
talk to a supervisor if they are struggling to cope, so you can get to the root of the problem.
There needs to be good communication across different departments, especially when poor management is the root of the problem. Carry out regular employee surveys
to help you spot any problems with individual managers or employees.
Spread the Workload
Make sure workload does not build up to unmanageable levels. If employees are regularly working late or not taking their vacation allowance, it could be because they
are struggling to meet their targets. Talk to them to find out what the problem is and then make changes.
Provide coaching and staff training to help employees manage stress in a more productive way.
Business coaching is a useful option for managers, as it can help them
support their team and reduce workplace stress.
Assign a Mentor
Mentors provide support and guidance to junior employees. Stress and anxiety are often caused by a lack of guidance and help, especially when learning the ropes
in a new position. Assigning each junior employee a senior mentor is a good way of boosting morale and creating a more supportive workplace environment.
Make sure employees are aware of any assistance programs and medical benefits provided by employers. Many medical schemes offer a counseling service as part of the
Time off work because of stress-related illnesses costs the business money, so it is in your interests to deal with the issue before it affects the company's bottom