When workers are stressed out, bad things happen. Sustained stress can lead to poor morale, employee turnover, at-work substance abuse, and even workplace violence. While some occasional stress is normal, routinely high stress can be a recipe for disaster at your business. A healthy working environment is critical to the success of any company.
A report from the American Institute of Stress found that 46 percent of workers say their main cause of stress is their workload, while another 28 percent stated that “people issues” cause the most stress. A quarter of respondents view their jobs as the number one stressor in their lives. So, what can company leaders do to reduce stress and prevent ugly, stress-induced incidents?
Here are some techniques that might be welcomed by your personnel:
1. Set a good example.
Whatever example is being set by company leaders is likely to be emulated by the rank and file. If leadership is in the office at dawn, stays late every night, and eats lunch at their desk every day, employees will feel they must do the same. This can quickly throw work-life balance at your office out of whack, leading to severe stress. To establish a healthy work culture, leaders must commit to modelling better work-life balance by working reasonable hours, taking breaks, and having a life outside of the office.
2. Listen to your employees.
Few things are more frustrating to workers than feeling invisible to their company’s leadership. A common source of stress for employees is feeling that they cannot speak up about their concerns or complaints about the job for fear of losing it, or—worse—that they will simply be ignored. Good leaders listen to employees’ concerns with an open mind and help them find solutions to the work problems that are contributing to their stress, even when doing so doesn’t directly contribute to the bottom line.
3. Encourage team bonding.
You don’t have to love the people you work with, but it’s important to trust and respect them. A dysfunctional team that does not communicate well will never succeed, and stress is an inevitability of such an environment. Include team-building activities in your staff meetings, or even schedule a retreat from the office where employees can share experiences and solve the issues that prevent them from working together effectively.
4. Foster a pleasant work environment.
Workplaces that are shabby, dirty, cluttered, or loud are stress factories. No one wants to work in an unpleasant environment, and that constant stress causes real problems. While the layout of your workplace may be outside your control, encourage employees to keep the place clean and the noise levels low. Bring in a plant or fresh flowers, hang attractive art on the walls, and make the overall environment as pleasant as possible to help reduce stress.
5. Offer a flexible work environment.
Many times, what causes stress is not necessarily the work itself, but managing all of life’s responsibilities, such as children, spouses, and household responsibilities, in addition to work. Allowing employees to work remotely, take longer breaks, or set their own hours helps them maintain that balance more effectively and keeps stress low.
Easing workplace stress can help reduce employee turnover, improve productivity, and prevent potentially explosive personnel issues. One of the keys to fostering a stress-free workplace, of course, is hiring the right people. The thorough and professional pre-employment screenings conducted by KRESS can help ensure that the next hire you make won’t be a source of stress to you or your employees. Save yourself some stress and call us today at 888.636.3693.