It’s often overlooked — but can cause workers who are loyal to want to leave

victoria-heath-MAGAXAYq_NE-unsplash-1Even with the advent of employer-sponsored wellness programs and efficiency-increasing technology, research indicates stress is on the rise in today’s workplaces.

A 2019 Cigna survey found globally, 84 percent of employees are stressed at work. More than a quarter — 26 percent — of the workers who participated in a 2018 Korn Ferry survey said their stress level was much higher than it had been five years ago. An additional 39 percent felt their work-related stress level was somewhat higher than it had been.

A variety of factors can prompt job stress. While employers may not be able to eliminate all of them, paying attention to some of the following elements could help enhance the employee experience an organization offers:

Contact outside of the office

Some employees — 44 percent — leave their computer at work or turn it off when they’re at home, according to a Bridge by Instructure survey. Twenty-one percent keep their work device on but will place it in another room to help reduce after-hours stress.

With technology making communication possible essentially around the clock, companies may be tempted to reach out to employees whenever a question arises. Interrupting employees’ personal time, though, can add to their sense of work-related stress. Employers can help support employees’ attempts to unplug and decompress at the end of the day by establishing and respecting work-life balance boundaries.

At-home obligations

Portrait of happy girl with dog lying on rug while mother relaxing at homeIn a Working Families and Bright Horizons study involving U.K. parents, 50 percent of the participants said work-life balance was a growing source of stress in their lives. Although a number felt flexible work schedules could be a potential solution, nearly half weren’t comfortable bringing that up with their employer. Six percent of mothers and 12 percent of fathers felt it would make them seem less committed; four percent of mothers and 10 percent of fathers thought it would negatively impact their career.

Proactively offering flex schedule options could potentially help organizations retain employees who are struggling to meet various family demands. A U.S. Office of Personnel Management survey found a correlation between telework and flexible work schedules and job satisfaction; as many as 68 percent of employees with flex schedule options expressed greater intentions to remain with their organization, compared to employees that did not have access to telework and flex options.

Financial woes

Money problems can be another key stress point for employees, resulting in an inability to focus at work and absenteeism, according to research conducted by the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans.  

To help meter financial stress, some employers offer financial education for employees. The results can be positive: 57 percent feel their financial literacy initiatives have been successful.

Our blog post on supporting work-life balance for new parents may provide some useful information about the challenges parents with newborn children can face. For more suggestions about how employers can reduce stress in the workplace, our posts on the 3 factors that affect work-life balance, the effect time off can have on job stress and high-tech solutions companies are using to improve employee experience may prove helpful.

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