Workplace stress has become an unfortunate by-product of the modern workplace, and it is taking a significant toll on employee health and productivity.
In fact, according to the American Psychological Association’s recent survey, about 50% of employees report that their job stress has increased over the past five years, with more than one-quarter saying that it’s become so stressful that it affects their overall health and well-being.
Workplace stress isn’t just an individual problem. It has severe effects on the entire organization’s health and can cause problems with productivity, low morale, and high turnover, among other things. Employees who are stressed out may be less able to focus on their work, increase their sick days, or even be less effective in their work because of the distractions their stress causes them. Higher stress levels in today’s workplace can cost you your most valuable employees.
So what can employers do to help reduce workplace stress?
Well, developing stress relief at the workplace may sound like an impossible challenge, but there are many ways that you can help your employees cope with it better. Whether you’re a manager or just an employee, these 3 practical tips will help you to know how to reduce stress at work.
But before that, let’s understand what exactly workplace stress is?
What Causes Stress In A Workplace ?
Various factors can cause workplace stress. That’s why It’s essential to know what causes stress to the employees. Some of those factors are discussed here:
If you want to know what’s causing your employees stress, all you have to do is look at their hours. If an employee is overworked, they are likely suffering from significant stress.
One factor contributing to stress is an employee being overworked. Excessive amounts of work will inevitably result in a high level of stress. Work-life balance can help alleviate some of that stress and improve productivity.
If you work in an open-plan office, there’s likely a constant stream of interruptions throughout your day, from your coworkers dropping by to colleagues shouting over Skype.
Research suggests that being unable to concentrate on one task can significantly cause stress and burnout. So, if you find yourself constantly getting distracted, consider working in a separate room or even part-time from home. It might not be ideal, but taking out some time to focus will benefit both your productivity and mental health in the long run.
3) Lack of Control
Studies show that one of the foremost causes of work-related stress is feeling like you don’t know how to control your situation.
If you find yourself repeatedly complaining about what others in your work environment are doing, it may be a sign that you need to step outside of your comfort zone and take on some responsibility for yourself.
Consider taking on a leadership role or something new and challenging that involves risk to give yourself a sense of accomplishment and control.
4) Workplace Bullying
Although there is no universal definition for bullying, it’s often associated with repeated verbal and physical aggression.
It’s a stressful experience that can take place in any business environment, especially when an employee fears speaking out will result in negative consequences.
Though not everyone experiences or defines bullying in the same way, experts estimate it regularly impacts approximately one-third of workers. It causes stress, leads to depression and anxiety disorders, and negatively affects the performance of employees.
5) Lack of Skills
One of the top causes of stress at the workplace is a lack of skills. If you lack skills, handling all that extra work that requires those missing skills can be very stressful.
And if you don’t get trained fast enough, more and more work will continue to come your way until you finally drop from being overloaded with too much work and stress.
How Does It Affect Employee Health?
Everyone experiences stress, but when it becomes severe, it can lead to serious health problems and career setbacks, both at work and in your personal life. To get a broad idea, let’s take a look at how these above-discussed causes can affect the employee’s health.
1) Increase In Sick Days
According to a study by Quest Diagnostics, over two million U.S. workers call in sick every day, costing employers $225 billion annually in lost productivity alone! This indicates that not only are employees feeling overwhelmed at work, but they are also struggling to manage stress outside of their professional lives.
2) Low Productivity
A recent study by Stanford researchers found that stress increases distraction and reduces productivity, leading to more mistakes and slower performance.
Stress also caused participants to be more impulsive, affecting the business in negative ways. It is said that employees are three times more likely to make a mistake when stressed out than when relaxed, costing businesses billions of dollars each year.
3) Sleeping Problems
Stressed employees are more likely to suffer from insomnia than those who aren’t stressed. This is because stress raises cortisol levels, which in turn affect sleep.
Employees with sleeping problems may not be able to handle their jobs as well as they could and may end up even more stressed out about work. To cope with this, try scheduling your work earlier in the day so that it doesn’t keep you up at night.
Tips To Help Employees Cope With Workplace Stress
According to a recent survey, more than half of U.S. employees say they feel burned out at work even when they are not at work. If you’re among them, here are three practical tips to cope with stress at work.
1) Identify Common Causes of Workplace Stress
The chances are pretty good that you already know what’s causing your employees stress. Is it demanding clients? Fear of missing deadlines? An unsupportive boss? It may seem obvious, but identifying common causes can help you pinpoint solutions that work for everyone involved.
For example, if a stressful project is coming up, try pairing workers with teammates who are better at handling tight deadlines or delegating tasks so that everyone has a part in making sure it gets done on time.
If you discover that stress comes from being micromanaged, set ground rules and start meeting regularly to talk about each other’s expectations. This will help team members feel more comfortable communicating directly with their supervisors instead of assuming they know what they want from them.
If someone seems stressed out all the time without much reason behind it, consider interacting about his schedule and workload to make sure nothing feels overwhelming.
2) Focus On Healthier Routines
When you’re stressed at work, it can be hard to focus on eating well and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Most of us live hectic lives and have erratic schedules, which makes healthy routines difficult to maintain.
To deal with this, you don’t have to devote a ton of time or money. Small changes can make a big difference in stress management and improving employee wellness. Your team members just need healthy habits just as much as they need good wages. The happier your employees are, the more comfortable your customers will be. And everyone will get along better!
It all starts with minor changes like appreciating their performance, having a friendly environment, extracurricular activities, etc. These types of things can seem trivial, but they really do help improve moods, decrease stress levels, and even boost productivity.
3) Manage Time Precisely
One way to stay productive while working is to be disciplined about your time management. Whether you work for yourself or for a company, keep track of how you spend your time and what productivity levels you can achieve with each approach.
Find ways to get more done in less time, which can be streamlining tasks, rethinking priorities, automating repetitive processes, etc. Aim for an overall more efficient workflow.
If you find it difficult, you can opt for employee monitoring software to ensure that employees fully utilize their allocated work hours. It will help you to monitor employee productivity effortlessly and maintain solid productivity levels, contribute to worker satisfaction, lead to increased employee retention rates, and, perhaps most importantly, lead to higher revenue results.
Today, our employees are dealing with more stress than ever before. Given that workplace stress is now one of the biggest problems and a leading cause of depression and lost productivity, it’s essential for companies to have practical strategies in place for helping their employees cope with mental health issues. That’s why we encourage you to consider implementing these strategies at your workplace.
We’ve covered a lot in this guide, and hopefully, you now have all of your questions answered for workplace stress.
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