Eliminating stress at work as an organization isn’t feasible, but that doesn’t mean that your company shouldn’t be invested in stress management. Below, we cover why stress management is so important in the workplace and how it will benefit your organization.
Understanding the Effects of Stress on Employees
Before considering the impact that stressed employees have on a business and the importance and benefits of stress management, let’s first look at both the physical and mental effects that stress has on the employees themselves. According to Healthline.com, stress can result in irritability, anxiety, depression, headaches, and insomnia.
The American Institute of Stress lists common symptoms of stress as:
- Frequent headaches
- Neck ache and back pain
- Frequent colds
- Excess anxiety, worry, and nervousness
- Depress and frequent or wild mood swings
- Difficulty concentrating
- Trouble learning
- Difficulty making decisions
- Increased frustration
- Reduced work efficiency or productivity
- Excessive defensiveness
- Problems communicating
- Constant fatigue
- Weight gain
- Increased smoking, alcohol, or drug use
And those are only some of the possible effects. If employees experience any of these symptoms, it’s easy to imagine how it will impact your business. Forgetfulness, difficulty concentrating, difficulty making decisions, constant fatigue—these are all things that will end up costing a business in the long run.
Understanding the Effects of Stress on an Organization
Now that we’ve covered the impact stress can have on employees, let’s look at how it impacts a business as a whole. As is highlighted in an article by Farleigh Dickinson University, the work impact that the symptoms of stress can result in include:
- More missed days
- Lower overall productivity
- Higher staff turnover
- Workers’ compensation
- Medical insurance & other stress-related expenses
This makes it clear that relationship between stress and job performance is not a positive one. And if stress becomes a huge issue and a business starts to experience the issues mentioned above, it can even make it hard to acquire new talent. With websites like Glassdoor.com, where former employees can anonymously review their former employer, word can quickly spread about an unhealthy work environment, and it can become a challenge to attract top talent. Ultimately, the result of all of this is lost revenue for a business.
Causes of Stress in the Workplace
If you feel like stress is affecting job performance, it’s a good idea to start digging into what is causing work-related stress.
- Poor company culture
- Long hours & excessive workload
- Worrying about job security
- Poor management, including both under and over-managing
- Lack of communication/transparency about business changes
- Workplace harassment
If you recognize any of these as issues within your organization, now’s the time to start identifying ways to reduce stress at work for employees.
Advantages of Stress Management in the Workplace
So far, the discussion has been about the effects of stress at work, but we’d like to turn the focus to the benefits of a low-stress work environment.
- Strong company culture: Employees have a major role in a company’s culture. Healthier employees operating under manageable levels of stress will be happier and more positive, helping to maintain a strong, healthy workplace culture that’s conducive to creativity and productivity.
- Less sick days: Stress is one of the leading causes of absenteeism in the workplace. Not only will less stress in the workplace result in less “mental health days,” but it will also reduce the amount of sick days taken by employees due to a weakened immune system as a result of excessive stress.
- Employee retention & talent acquisition: Employees who aren’t overly stressed are much more likely to stick around, and prospective employees are much more likely to work for an employer that promotes a low-stress work environment and takes the initiative to help keep their employees healthy.
- It shows you care: Actively working to reduce stress through measures like stress management programs and policy shows that you care about your employees and their health and happiness.
How Can Employers Reduce Stress in the Workplace?
There are several stress management techniques that can work for your business. View a few of the ideas below.
Address Known Issues
For starters, if you know there’s an issue that’s creating stress, find a way to fix it. This isn’t always easy, but it’s important. If you don’t do what you can to give your employees a healthy, low-stress work environment, you’re going to suffer from low productivity and will be training new employees sooner than later.
Being trained to implement is a strategic place to start, and it also helps you and your organization prioritize stress management as an ongoing initiative. WELCOA offers advanced training courses, such as Jim Porter’s “Stress Prevention in Six Steps” to equip leadership and individuals at your company with effective stress management strategies.
Wellness Programs & Initiatives
Wellness programs have countless benefits for businesses. One of the benefits is reduced stress around the office. Our stress incentive campaign, In Tune: Take Charge Of Your Stress, is a campaign designed to help individuals respond to common stressors, such as work deadlines or traffic congestion that are always going to be part of life.
Stress-related programs aren’t the only way to help relieve stress around the office, though. Exercise is proven to help reduce stress, so a health initiative like On the Move is a great way to help employees start making healthier decisions that can reduce stress.
Stress Management Resources
Often, stress isn’t a company-wide issue, but there will always be individuals going through highly stressful times. One way to help individuals in need is to provide them with resources to better handle their stress to get through those times. WELCOA has a variety of products and resources available that are perfect for these scenarios:
Free Stress Resources
Stress Management for Employees is Critical to Your Organization’s Success
Stress can’t be entirely eliminated, and a healthy amount of stress leads to productivity and creativity. But there’s a fine line and when employees become overly stressed, it takes a toll on both them personally and the overall health of the company. To ensure you have happy, healthy, and engaged employees, stress management in the workplace is a must.