Workplace stress is not something that is to be expected, nor is it something we simply have to live with. When allowed to fester and grow, stress can be fatal.
That’s a truth.
With that in mind, it’s vital that you figure out ways to reduce stress, both in your personal and professional lives, but it’s equally as important for employers to sit up and take the problem seriously too.
Living with stress isn’t pleasant, but from a business point of view, it can be extremely damaging too. Stress management in the workplace is therefore something which should be actively focused upon, either by regular stress management workshops, or simply having an open door policy, allowing employees to talk to their managers whenever they feel under pressure, or whenever they have something on their minds.
Check out this interesting TED talk video which highlights some of the very real costs of workplace stress.
Of course, the most important reasons why employers need to take workplace stress seriously is from the human point of view. Being under stress is horrible, and you shouldn’t want any of your colleagues to feel that way when they sit at their office desks, or even beyond there. However, there are business-associated issues to consider too.
- Stress causes an increase in sickness absence - Stress is one of the most common reasons for an employee to go off sick from work. Of course, sickness absence costs a business a huge amount and also severely dents productivity at the same time. As a result, focusing on stress management is vital for businesses.
- Stress easily reduces workplace morale - Morale is key on so many levels, and it’s impossible for a contemporary office to have a high amount of morale overall when employees are feeling under pressure to a large degree.
- Stress reduces productivity - Working hand in hand with the reduction in morale, productivity is easily affected in an office which is packed with stressed employees. Of course, this also negatively affects profits, which is something a business doesn’t want to happen!
- Stress causes an increase in mistakes - When someone is feeling stressed, it’s hard to concentrate. That means a greater chance of mistakes happening, which could easily cause a customer to feel that your service is sub-standard. Again, this means lost profits due to lost business. It could also detrimentally affect word of mouth marketing too.
- Stress causes a business to lose staff and find it hard to attract new talent - When employees are sitting at their office chairs stressed out day after day, something will give. That might mean they eave the business. Recruitment is a long and expensive process and no business wants to go through it unnecessarily. In addition, word may easily get out that the business doesn’t care too much about stress relief for its employees, which could affect the amount of new talent that would be attracted to the business.
As you can see, stress is a very real problem for businesses on many different levels.
Managers need to ensure that workloads are even and realistic, that deadlines aren’t completely unattainable, and that employees feel able to talk about anything that is causing them distress or to feel under pressure. Having an open and positive environment within the office will certainly help to banish stress and when employees work together to ensure everyone is happy and healthy within the office environment, it’s a far better place to be.