We know dealing with stress, particularly in an office environment, can have an overwhelmingly negative effect.
Employees’ health can take a hit as a result. Studies have linked work stress to a variety of problems, ranging from cardiovascular disease to depression.
The effect stress can have on a company’s overall productivity can also be profound. An estimated 50 to 60 percent of all lost work days in Europe, for example, are the result of work-related stress, according to International Labour Organization data.
Completely eradicating job stress is an improbable goal; in any deadline-oriented scenario, it’s a likely byproduct. Companies can, however, make strides in reducing it.
If your organization is having a hard time insulating employees from stress, the following steps may instill some additional calm:
Opt for in-office relaxation
A 2015 survey from the Regus Group found more than half of the members of the global workforce said they were closer to burning out than five years prior; respondents cited a lack of exercise, unreliable IT and feeling understaffed as the three main workplace stress triggers. Confirming the necessary staff members are hired, of course, and updating your tech offerings should help reduce employees’ job stress. You may also want to try a slightly more unconventional approach, such as subsidizing gym memberships or hosting stress-reducing events like on-site yoga workshops or a regular bring-your-pet-to-work day. In a report released in 2016, seven out of 10 employees and HR decision makers said having pets at work can help improve morale and reduce job stress.
Contemplate some structural changes
Consider dealing with stress by redesigning your office. Is its current layout conducive to getting work done? Could chaotic or loud areas be making it difficult for employees to complete assignments, adding anxiety to their workday? A 2016 study from global architecture and design firm Gensler found more than 8 million U.K. employees work in an office with open workspaces that frequently fail to support daily activities, potentially resulting in lower job satisfaction and performance.
Revamp your work-life balance approach
An EY study of full-time workers in eight countries found one-third feel managing their work and life has become more difficult. With mobile devices and connectivity giving employers, coworkers and clients 24-7 access to employees, it can be easy to forget contacting workers after-hours and on weekends may be preventing them from fully relaxing. For tips on establishing work-life balance-based communication rules, view our blog post on respecting employees’ time off.
Kill job stress with kindness
Several studies have shown respect is an important driver of employee satisfaction; disrespect, in fact, is one of the leading factors for workplace stress in India, according to a recent report. U.S. employees — whose main source of stress is workplace stress, according to the American Institute of Stress — ranked respect as the most important job quality in a 2014 Harvard Business Review survey. Remove the possibility disrespect will raise stress levels by working to establish and maintain a truly supportive, courteous company culture.
Generally, happy employees are less stressed employees; if you can make your staff feel valued and involved in the company’s future, you may be able to ward off some uneasy feelings.
If you’re looking for more tips on how to increase employee satisfaction — and how companies deal with stress, in a proactive way — our blog posts on using benefits to drive employee satisfaction, creating the most effective employee value proposition and producing the ideal employee recognition program may be of interest.