Stress In The Workplace: The Damaging Effects It Can Have On Your Employees
A little bit of stress every now and again hurts nobody, right? Well, that might not be the case. In the professional world, dealing with stress is becoming more of a daily occurrence. Tight deadlines, budget concerns and changing priorities are all obstacles that employees juggle as part of their job responsibilities.
But what happens when this daily stress becomes too much? The answer is employee burnout.
Workplace Stress: Is Ever-Present Burnout Becoming The Norm?
While we agree that in some situations being under pressure is necessary to help us focus and to perform well in stressful situations, experiencing it on a chronic basis can be extremely damaging for your employees’ health. In fact, a survey that was carried out in 2017 noted that 58% of Canadian workers were stressed on a daily basis.
This statistic is really worrying and suggests that workplace stress plays a regular role in employees’ lives rather than a once-off occurrence. As a leader, this should concern you. Employee burnout not only impacts long-term health and productivity but also increases turnover rates in companies. Business owners need to tackle this issue head-on and put measures in place to reduce stress in the workplace.
Not only does it make good business sense but it also shows that you have what it takes to be an effective leader.
The Main Causes Of Stress In The Workplace
Workplace stressors can appear in many different forms and vary depending on the particular employee or situation. Remember, personal issues can also heavily affect an individual’s ability to manage and cope with stress in the workplace. As an employer, keeping this in mind when supporting a stressed employee can be very beneficial in helping them devise a management strategy.
According to The American Institute of Stress, the main cause of workplace stress is an employee having an intense workload. Those employees who feel as if they have more tasks than working hours to complete them often experience a decline in productivity and morale. This leads to missed deadlines and an increase in sick leave days taken.
Another source of stress that is often quoted by employees suffering from burnout is working alongside coworkers or managers that are difficult to deal with or have been harassing them. Poor working conditions heavily impact job satisfaction and take an extensive toll on an employee’s mental health.
However, these aren’t the only factors to keep in mind. Below, is a list of additional stressors that can affect your employees and contribute to their stress levels:
Labour laws in Canada and the United States require businesses to provide a healthy workplace environment for their employees. This includes protecting their mental health and putting systems in place to eliminate workplace stress.
- JOB SECURITY
- LOW SALARIES
- POOR PEER SUPPORT
- LIMITED PROSPECTS FOR GROWTH
- TASKS THAT ARE NOT CHALLENGING OR ENGAGING ENOUGH
- NOT FEELING VALUED OR RESPECTED FOR THEIR CONTRIBUTIONS
What Are The Long-Term Damaging Effects On Your Business?
Ignoring employees’ cries for support when they are feeling overwhelmed or stressed is not only going to impact their job satisfaction but the performance of the business overall.
Nobody is immune to burnout. It can happen to anybody, even you. So, when you notice the first signs of workplace stress among your employees it’s important to act quickly. If you don’t, you may experience some long-lasting damages to your organization too.
Employee burnout has been known to incur significant organizational costs. Employees who are experiencing chronic stress are more likely to take sick leave and look for job opportunities elsewhere. This may increase your employee turnover rate which, in turn, increases costs related to lost revenue and hiring replacements. These employees may also be team members that you can’t afford to lose.
Stressed employees can also have a negative impact on your company’s culture, especially if those employees are in managerial positions. Managers that are experiencing stress in the workplace have often been known to spill this over to other levels in the company. This then impacts the productivity and performance levels of other team members leading to disengagement and low morale levels.
Obviously, none of this is good for the health of your employees or your business. A great manager should have the ability to recognize the signs of burnout among their employees and the stress management strategies (Link to the following blog: The Stress Management Strategies That Your Employees Should Know) to fix it.
Below are some evidence-based approaches that you can take to help your employees manage their stress levels in the workplace.
- Discover the cause of their stress – Take time to discover what are the stressors that employees are currently experiencing in your company. This will help you to target specific problems such as long working hours or unmanageable deadlines.
- Improve the workplace environment – All leaders should aim to improve the working environments for their employees on a regular basis. That might include making sure that there is enough natural light or that employees have adequate break times away from their desks. Remember that a clean, attractive and comfortable work environment can have tremendous effects on employee morale and health.
- Offer flexibility – Stress in the workplace can often be caused by outside factors. Maybe an employee has a stressful and long commute every day. Providing more flexibility in terms of working hours or allowing employees to work remotely from home can help reduce stress levels and improve productivity.
- Adopt a health and productivity program – Wellness programs are very popular among corporate offices due to the benefits they provide employees. By placing emphasis on the importance of employee wellness and encouraging your team to take care of themselves on a physical and mental wellbeing perspective can drastically reduce mental health issues. Consider offering yoga or meditation classes on a regular basis.
While these strategies are beneficial, a more sustainable approach to helping your employees cope with stress is by providing them with an employee training program that focuses on building their stress management skills.
A workplace stress management course gives your employees the skills and knowledge they need to manage stress levels both from a professional and personal perspective. This undoubtedly provides multiple benefits as it ensures stress reduction in the future leading to happier, more productive employees.
As an employer, you need to be proactive when eliminating workplace stress. This should never be left your employees to solve. By creating a healthy work environment that supports your employees to be engaged and productive you are actively increasing job satisfaction and reducing stressors in the workplace.
Here at the Training Company, we provide online and blended training opportunities that give your company the skills needed to effectively manage stress in a productive manner. We’ve worked with many SMBs over the years in helping them build the perfect work culture for their employees. If you are interested in hearing more about the courses that we have available, get in touch with our team today.