Stress is a necessary evil that consistently challenges every one of us. It has become not just a common problem but an expensive one in the American workplace. When left unchecked, it can severely affect the productivity and health of the entire workforce.
Nearly a decade ago, a survey by the American Psychological Association (APA) found that more than one-third (36%) of the workers felt tense or stressed on an average workday. The APA further highlighted that excessive workload, unrealistic job expectations, and long working hours were significant contributors to such regular stress. Also, 20% of the workers cited their average daily level of stress upward of 8 on a 10-point scale.
In another survey by the APA in 2020, 70% of the employed adults cited work as a significant source of stress in their lives, even higher than the proportion of adults who cited work as a stressor in the 2019 survey (64%). This long-term stress, which can lead to physical and psychological health issues, has been a major cause for concern for employers.
Consequences of Uncontrolled Stress
Work-related stress and its consequences are becoming increasingly visible nowadays. The common complaints of headaches, stomach aches, sleep disturbances, and short temper are signs of uncontrolled stress at the workplace. This chronic stress, in the long run, can lead to anxiety, insomnia, high blood pressure, and an incapacitated immune system.
Employees often tend to deal with this stress by indulging in unhealthy habits, such as overeating, eating junk foods, smoking, or consuming drugs and alcohol. The good news is that several companies have been proactively making efforts to improve the mental well-being of their employees.
How Companies Can Mitigate Stress
Stressed and demotivated employees often underperform, impacting the growth of the company. However, employers can take certain steps to reduce employee stress levels.
Encourage Physical Activity
Exercise increases the production of endorphins and brings down stress levels significantly. Encouraging employees to move around the office and walking during their breaks or offering them discounted gym memberships can push them towards a healthier lifestyle.
Organize Corporate Retreats
A break from the usual work-setting and heading to an open space decreases stress, enhances productivity, and improves work performance. According to an article by River House at Odette’s, efficient meeting spaces and guestrooms, with floor-to-ceiling windows for ample natural light, keep employees on corporate retreats engaged and motivated throughout the day.
Recognize and Reward
If the core strengths of the employees are identified and tasks are delegated accordingly, they will perform better and feel good about themselves. Employers should also appreciate their hard work and reward them regularly. “The more you recognize your employees’ specific contributions to the team, the more irreplaceable they’ll feel,” says an article by Forbes.
Allow Flexible Working Hours
With strict office timings, the workplace sometimes feels like a prison cell. Employers should have faith in the ability of employees to accomplish their tasks on time. When the quality of work is prioritized, the overall productivity of the workplace will improve.
Besides these simple yet important steps, employees sometimes need a chance to share their concerns in a safe space. If the managers are encouraged to listen to their team compassionately, it will significantly reduce the stress level at the workplace. Healthier and happier employees are bound to boost the profitability of the company.