And why combatting stress is the best thing you can do for your employees and your bottom line.
Let’s talk workplace stress…
Okay, hear me out. I know you’ve seen the term popping up everywhere lately. But this is an important one. Stress in the workplace is only becoming more, not less, prominent. Ignoring it and not talking about it isn’t doing us any favors.
What’s more, it’s starting to cost the employer (aka you) quite a lot. Think increased health insurance costs, employees out on sick leave, or coming in late. Workplace stress is ultimately costing you your bottom line.
Ignoring workplace stress effects can have perilous consequences, not only for individual employees but for your business as a whole. It’s time to evaluate the levels of stress in your own business and put a plan in place for what you can do to mitigate and improve the situation.
We’re here to help you do just that. Take note and both your employees and business productivity will thank you.
So let’s get into it.
Stress Feels Like…
Stress has gotten a bad rap, but at its core, it is a positive, and natural, reaction. Stress activates your body’s fight or flight response to keep you safe when there’s a stressor in the environment. A stress response increases your heart rate, blood pressure, and releases stress hormones. When stress kicks in, you take action. When the stressor is gone you calm down and return to your normal state.
We can all thank our fight or flight response for getting us out of some hairy situations. But stress is primitive. We are no longer hunter-gatherers, no need to be on high alert for very real-life or death situations. So what’s got everyone so stressed?
In today’s society chronic low-level stress is running rampant. With so much overload from workplace pressure, inflation, news, and media, our minds see stress cues everywhere we look. When your body is in a constant state of low-level stress, this is when we start to run into a problem … and feel the effects.
So many of us are not returning to our normal, grounded, and stress-free state. Instead, we are unknowingly allowing constant low levels of stress to wreak havoc on our bodies. Think inflammation, insomnia, and increased risk for serious illness -- like a heart attack or stroke.
Potential stressors in the workplace
According to Corporate Wellness Magazine, we’ve got both physical and psychosocial effects to consider.
Physical Stressors –
Ergonomic Factors, Poor Lighting, Noise, & Substandard Office/Work layout
Excessive Job Demands, Inflexible Working Hours, Poor Workflow and Structure, Bullying & Harassment, & Job Insecurity
Workplace Stress Effects
There is no question that your employees face stress outside of the workplace. Or even that they are bringing stress into the workplace with them. But let’s also be clear, that for many people, their number one source of stress is the job itself.
And when your employees are stressed, productivity takes a huge hit.
According to The American Institute of Stress “83% of US workers suffer from work-related stress and US businesses [are losing] up to $300 billion yearly as a result of workplace stress.”
These numbers are pretty staggering. But the good news is, there are things you can do.
How to combat the stress that over two-thirds of the workforce is feeling?
For Your Employees
When you notice changes in employee behavior, such as low productivity or poor time management, consider stress as the potential culprit.
Apply stress mitigation tactics before disciplinary action. Things like working with your employees to discuss ways in which you can help relieve some of their stress in on the job. You may find that with good stress-management practices in place, many of the employee-related issues you face take care of themselves.
Make sure employees are set up with ergonomic desks and keyboards, listen to employee concerns, and pay attention to mental, physical and behavioral changes. Encourage proper sleep and work-life balance.
Small changes to office culture can make a huge difference.
Manage your own stress.
When speaking about stress in the workplace, the person steering the ship is often overlooked. As a result, we’ve got badass entrepreneurs and small-business owners who count constant stress as the norm. It sure shouldn’t be.
It also makes it harder for you to relate to employee stress when your own stress is seen as the price of admission or even a badge of honor.
Your employees look to you to define office culture. If you’re stressed, everything in the workplace is heightened. Be honest with yourself when evaluating your own stress levels, and how they may be impacting your employees.
It can be hard to take an honest look at your own stressors and resulting behavior. But employees are taking their cues on office culture from you either way. If you don’t have a handle on your own workplace stress, neither will they. It's not their responsibility to bandaid the parts of the business flow that are causing you the most stress. It’s yours. So get to it.
For both you and your employees, we've got some incredible stress-management resources below.
Resources: Combatting Stress In the Workplace
Check out our Podcast interview Stress and Your Employees with Dr. Melissa Root on Quirky HR! In this episode (Ep. 21) we talk all things stress. From how to recognize stress in your employees, to how to put stress management practices in place.
CalmPak – This is Dr. Melissa Root’s very own creation and has shown tremendous success in helping employees combat stress.
The genius of CalmPak is that it is entirely anonymous, based on science, and is extremely beneficial for the employee, and affordable for the employer. To learn more about how CalmPak can help your business, click here.
If you could use some one-on-one personal guidance on how to implement stress management practices into your own business, we’ve got you covered. Boss Consulting HR has both individualized HR services and one on one coaching. We'd love to help! Schedule a consultation here.