During our economic recovery one element that has been persistent is that employers are trying to get more out of their workers than ever before.
And while most managers and owners try to ensure that their workers are provided a safe workplace and put a premium on reducing the chances of accidents, one often overlooked area is employee stress.
Heaping too much stress or too many responsibilities on a single employee can greatly increase their chances of not only burnout, but also making costly mistakes. A worse-case scenario is that if they are engaged in more labor-intensive occupations, too much stress can lead to accidents.
Think your employees aren’t stressed? A recent study by Mental Health America, “Mind the Workplace,” found that:
- 81% of employees think that job stress affects their relationships with family and friends, at least sometimes.
- 63% think that their workplace is unhelpful or hostile such that they want to work alone.
- 66% don’t trust their co-workers or team to support their work activities.
- 17% believe that their company appropriately deals with employees who don’t do their job.
There are a number of consequences for an overly stressful work environment:
- Drug and alcohol abuse
- Other medical issues
- Worsened productivity
- Trouble concentrating
- Making mistakes
- Causing accidents
- Absenteeism and presenteeism.
What you can do
All of the above can have a detrimental effect on your workplace and worker health, as stress can lead to a myriad of health issues.
Employers have to wrestle with a fine balancing act of requiring employees to meet quotas and complete all of their tasks, and pushing them too hard. Here are a few tips to help reduce stress among your workforce:
- Recognize your workers for a job well done.
- Be supportive of workers experiencing hard times, like paid time off and assistance with their workload.
- Make sure that management treats everyone fairly and does not show favoritism.
- Set realistic, clear goals and expectations of your staff.
- Management should lead by example, meaning that they should display the same work ethic that they expect of their staff.
- Promote a safe work environment and have supervisors and management reinforce your commitment to safety.
- Hold everyone accountable for their work.
- Encourage mindfulness in your team.
- Offer flexible work schedules.
- Encourage your employees to get up and move regularly.
- Provide an employee assistance plan as part of your benefits package.