Stress in the workplace is costing U.S. employers a whopping $300 billion annually. The workplace is one of the most stressful environments for your employees and the World Health Organization has declared the negative consequences from stress a world-wide epidemic.
Stress can be difficult to manage because there is no ‘one-size fits all’ solution for stress management. Stress is highly personalized and can vary widely, even in identical situations. Stress in the workplace can lead to accidents, absenteeism, employee turnover, and increased medical costs.
Main causes of stress in the workplace
- Workload – According to the ComPsych StressPlus survey, 46% of respondents stated that their workload was one of the main causes of stress at work.
- Work/Life Balance – The ability to find a balance between the time spent at work and the time spent with family was a stressor for 20% of respondents.
- People Issues – Issues with other coworkers, management, and even carry-over from people in your personal life caused stress for 28%.
- Lack of Job Security – 6% were stressed due to lack of job security, which for many can also become a cyclical issue. The fear of losing your job causes stress that can lead to absenteeism that can lead to worrying about losing ones job.
Reducing stress in the workplace
- Workplace Wellness – Two of the best tools to combat stress are healthy eating and exercise. Encouraging employees to take breaks from their desks, go for a walk, or having exercise classes onsite can help to encourage your employees to get fit. Encourage healthy eating by offering healthy options in vending machines, fruits and vegetables in the cafeteria, and catering healthy luncheons. (SnackNation is a great service that helps provide employers with healthy snacks for their employees.)
- Habitat – Your environment plays a huge factor in stress. What does your office space do for the wellness of your team? That can mean something as simple as changing the color of your office to a more refreshing color (think, light creamy colors and pastels), adding plants to the office, and bringing in more natural light. Any change that can increase your employees’ enjoyment in the workplace can help them feel less stressed.
- Breaks – Employees can be overworked and overstimulated and may just need a quiet place to collect their thoughts and unwind for a few minutes. More than 80% of disengaged employees would have appreciated the opportunity to have stress-relieving breaks. A small room, lounge space, or even outdoor area can help them take a breather from the chaos.
- Telecommuting – Allowing employees to work from home or flexible start and end times, can help those employees struggling with work/life balance. Letting employees telecommute also shows employees that they are trusted which can boost employee morale.
- Counseling – Sometimes employees need to learn how to better manage their stress. Counseling can be provided in or out of the office and in groups or individually. See what steps you can take as the employer to help employees be better prepared to handle the stress thrown their way.
Different types of stress affect us all. Financial stress can effect us both personally and in the workplace. Download our white paper The Impact of Financial Stress on Wellness to learn more.