A study by Canada Life Group Insurance has shown that the pressure to perform combined with overwhelming workloads is having a severe impact on productivity in the UK. High levels of stress and anxiety, and even depression are affecting employees across the nation, across all industries.
Yet surely in today’s technology-centric workplace we’re meant to be more efficient and enjoy a greater sense of company culture than ever before. So does this mean employers need to be doing more to reduce their employees’ stress levels? Well, yes if they don’t want to deal with the issues associated with high staff turnover.
Improve Working Conditions
Better working conditions create increased engagement and demonstrate to employees that their managers care - which results in a higher level of staff performance and productivity, and greater loyalty. It also reduces the cost of absenteeism as well as helping eliminate stress-fueled disputes among staff. But how exactly can employers achieve this?
Determining whether you have a stress problem through risk assessment is the first step. By managers identifying departments or individuals who are performing below par, HR departments can then formulate a plan of action to deal with the situation. For example determining the issue, proposing a solution, taking action and reviewing the plan at a set date to see if it is successful or if further action needs to be taken. Scheduling time to talk to employees on a one-to-one basis is a must and will be crucial in taking the right steps to alleviate the stress.
How to Relieve the Symptoms of Stress
So what are some steps that can be taken to relieve the symptoms of stress? Firstly, it’s important to remember that while for some the 9-to-5 works just fine, others struggle with the time constraints and by increasing flexibility for your staff you’ll be creating a better working environment. This means, where appropriate, allowing employees time to do the school run by letting them start/finish work earlier/later, or to work on the go using mobile technology. If your company has employees that can work remotely, allowing them to do so if they have a long commute or poorly children needing time off school is an option that could make a big difference to productivity and loyalty.
Wellbeing in the workplace should also be a consideration - after all, what better way to help combat stress than by allowing employees a longer lunch break once or twice a week to take a yoga class, or otherwise giving them the flexibility to fit in time to exercise? If you really can’t afford the time for staff to workout during the day, why not encourage them to go for a walk - together or alone - at lunchtime? You could even turn it into a companywide fitness and/or charity drive.
In a nutshell a happier and healthier workforce is a more efficient workforce and it is in everybody's interests to reduce stress levels in the workplace.