Stress in your business environment increases costs and challenges your ability to compete. Stressful conditions contribute to communication and productivity problems as well as employee sickness and absenteeism.
Business owners must develop an awareness of stress within their organization and find ways to eliminate its sources to stay running at peak efficiency. Let’s look at how you can eliminate stress at work.
How Does Stress Affect the Workplace
Some stress can help keep your staff motivated to complete tasks and stay focused on the company mission. Too much stress, however, can backfire, paralyzing your organization.
Stress ranks among the top causes of employee absenteeism. Heavy workloads and lack of training can cause workers to dread going to work enough to cause them to stay home. Stress also manifests itself in the form of physical sicknesses that prevent employees from working.
Even when your whole team shows up to work, they can exhibit morale and productivity problems and demonstrate poor decision-making capabilities. Stress can also create barriers to communication that can result in problems going unreported and, therefore, unresolved.
Failing to deal with stress can lead to high employee turnover rates, sending your recruiting and training costs through the roof. You might face legal responsibility for creating a stressful environment for your company, leading to disruption.
Develop the critical skills for dealing with it, so your company can stay profitable and competitive. Get started by using the following tips to eliminate stress at work.
What Causes Stress and How to Recognize It
Inadequate training and unclear instructions create stress at work, as employees try to fulfill their responsibilities and fail. Excessive workloads also cause stress, because workers fear the repercussions they will experience when they know they can’t complete their work on time.
Unhealthy relationships among coworkers also contribute to stress, making working together to achieve common goals nearly impossible.
Your poor management style can also cause stress. For example, a lack of task definition in your organization leaves your staff unclear about their responsibilities and how to correctly perform tasks. Also, when you fail to convey the role of your employees in your company can leave them feeling unimportant and unvalued.
Pressure to work overtime and inflexible work schedules contribute to a stressful personal life. People have less time to take care of their households and might even take out their job frustrations on friends and family members. Stress at work followed by pressure from home can become toxic, resulting in an endless stream of personal and work-related problems.
Recognize stress by monitoring employee and team performance. When productivity levels suddenly drop and never recover, you might have a problem with stress at work. You should also pay attention to your workers, looking for signs of mood changes and the inability to concentrate. Track employee attendance and search for signs of increased absenteeism and sickness.
Listen to what your team members say and the ways they behave. You can identify stress by looking for people who feel reluctant to come to work. You should also look for individuals who refuse to take breaks and consistently work late.
Finally, recognize stress by paying attention to employees who complain of physical problems such as fatigue and headaches. Workers that have unexplained nausea and complain about sleep problems might have stress-related problems as well as employees who exhibit shaking and other nervous behaviors.
What Employers Can Do to Manage Stress
Take responsibility for stress at work and act to manage it, so it doesn’t debilitate your business. When you make life and work easy for your employees, you’ll build a stable, healthy operation with low turnover rates and high engagement. The following tips will help:
Communicate and acknowledge stress
Talk to your workers. Create an open environment where people feel safe expressing their feelings and providing feedback about their work. While speaking to your staff, let them know that you understand the threat stress poses to them and your company and make sure they know that you want to work with them to eliminate stress at work. Create stress-relief programs such as providing stressed employees extra time off.
Reduce demands at work
Monitor your expectations regarding your employees, so you don’t fall into the trap of making unrealistic demands. Evaluate workloads by setting goals using the SMART method:
- create Specific goals for your workers, so they always understand their responsibilities
- make every task Measurable, so your employees know how you will evaluate their performance.
- give your team Achievable, Realistic goals that have definite Time limits, so everyone understands the deadlines and other constraints that affect your business.
Don’t expect your employees to work hard and long. Keep overtime to a minimum and discourage employees from taking work home. During the day, encourage everyone to take breaks and don’t make anyone feel guilty by taking advantage of holidays and other time off.
Show flexibility to your employees by understanding the demands of their personal life. Give people a chance to define their work hours and negotiate schedules that address their needs without compromising the success of your business.
Employers should consider offering their employees the opportunity to do some or all of their work from home. Telecommuting, the practice of working from home rather than reporting to the office in-person, offers many benefits, including reducing business overhead and improving the work-life balance of workers. It also increases employee retention and productivity while reducing work-related stress.
Improve your management style
Don’t make the mistake of thinking that you’re the world’s best boss. Objectively review your management style and respectfully consider any feedback received from your employees. Make sure you publish a performance appraisal and review policy, so your staff can look forward to opportunities for pay raises and promotions. Develop your communication skills and find out what motivates each employee on your team. Periodically, survey your staff about stress, so everyone stays aware of it.
Promote a healthy lifestyle
Diet and exercise go a long way toward mitigating the effects of stress on the mind and body. Simple things such as contributing to the cost of employee gym memberships and running company-wide challenges to promote healthy lifestyle can produce amazing results for your business. You should also create a stress-free room or area to which stressed-out workers can flee when they feel overloaded.
Stress can destroy your business if left unchecked, so implement the things you have just learned about stress, so you can identify it and take steps to manage it. Your efforts will reward you in the form of a satisfied, loyal workforce that produces synergies that make your company compete and grow.
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