Stress is a part of daily life, and it is quite normal to experience some amount of stress on a daily basis. However, when the level of stress becomes extremely high, it can interfere with daily activities. Stress can make it difficult to concentrate and focus on every-day tasks and it can impact your overall health. It can cause issues with hypertension, and it has been linked to depression, obesity, diabetes and heart disease. It is important for business owners to understand how damaging stress can be on their employees and on their business, and to know how to manage it.
How Does Stress Affect the Workplace?
Stress can impact your workplace in a number of ways, and it is critical that you are aware of the effects it can have on your business and on your employees. Consider, for example, that stress is one of the top five causes of employee absence. While some stress can be enough to motivate employees to work harder and to focus more intently on the tasks at hand, problems arise when stress levels are exceptionally high.
High stress levels can lead to poor productivity, create low morale and increase the possibility of making bad decisions. Altogether, it can be very disruptive to your business as it leads to lead to high levels of turnover. The consequences can be even more serious. Stress can lead to long-term illness, and the employer could face legal trouble if identified as the cause of the stress.
What Causes Stress and How to Recognize It
There are many factors which contribute to development of stress in the workplace. Long hours at the office, lack of training, excessive demands in the workplace and even poor office relationships are the main reasons why employees feel stressed at work. Other causes of stress at work include how much control workers have over their duties, the organizational structure of the workplace and the management style that is exhibited in the office.
There are a number of signs that individuals may exhibit that may indicate that they are stressed out at work. These include a lack of concentration, a change in mood, a decline in work performance, a refusal to take breaks and staying late on a regular basis. In addition, employees might take more sick leave, have a general dread of coming into work or an increase in absences. Stress can also manifest itself in physical ailments, such as a headache, chest pain, stomach ache or fatigue.
What Employers Can Do to Manage Stress
It is essential for employers to have the necessary skills to create a workplace environment that makes it easier to deal with stress and that doesn’t add to the existing stress. The following steps can be taken to manage stress at the workplace:
Communicate and acknowledge stress
Listen to your employees and openly communicate about stress. Help them solve any issues that might be causing them to feel stressed. Giving your employees the opportunity to receive training and education about stress reducing techniques can be extremely beneficial. Encourage stressed employees to take time off during or after a particularly stressful time.
Allowing your employees to have flexible work hours can greatly reduce stress levels of your employees. You might also consider offering your employees the opportunity to do some or all of their work from home. Telecommuting has many benefits and the most important ones are reduced levels of stress and increased productivity, which can prove to be beneficial to both you and your team.
Have reasonable demands
Set realistic and achievable goals that your employees can handle during work hours. Don’t ask your employees to work long hours. Encourage your employees to frequently take short breaks which can help them refresh their mind and body.
Improve your management style
Work on your management skills and learn how to identify when your employees are stressed out. Improve your communication skills and schedule regular performance appraisals. Let your employees know what is expected of them and provide frequent feedback on their performance. Keeping your employees updated about any changes in the company is a good way to prevent potential anxiety and stress. Also, make sure every employee knows the exact description of their job.
Promote a healthy lifestyle
Healthy lifestyle and exercise are a vital part of dealing with stress. Promoting a healthy lifestyle by paying for your employees’ gym membership, encouraging healthy eating challenges or providing a quiet room for relaxation can help your staff unwind and feel better about themselves and their job.
Stress can have a purpose in every-day life, but there is a point when stress can be too much to handle. As a business owner, there are steps that you can take to improve the stress level in your office, and this can have long-term benefits on your business and on your employees.
Author: Jill Phillips is a freelance writer from Buffalo, NY. She is an aspiring entrepreneur and a tech lover who loves to share her insight on various topics. When she is not writing, Jill enjoys taking photos and hiking with her dog. You can find her on Twitter @jillphlps