By: Express Employment Professionals
Feeling stressed at work now seems to be the norm. Just think about how other people respond when you ask how work is going. Consider what you say when you’re asked the same question. How often is the answer “Great! It’s always so relaxed and stress-free?”
Last year, Forbes reported on a survey of employees that showed 35 percent or per cent had contemplated leaving a job because of workplace stress, while another 42 percent or per cent had actually left a job because of the stress. Work-life balance, and the impact of how to manage the two areas of life, is obviously a major struggle for many in the workforce today. But what can employers do to help their employees be successful in handling the demands of each world?
Diagnosis Before Treatment
So what’s the cause? Before you can find a cure, you have to find the underlying issue. And in this case, there isn’t one problem, but many. Some of the top causes include relationships with supervisors, workload, work-life balance, and coworkers, according to the Forbes article. Work hours, shift work, downsizing, family conflicts, and money problems also play a role according to an article from The Atlantic.
That’s a lot of factors. Some can be dealt with by employers, some can be addressed by the employees themselves, and some just have to be chalked up to the way things are. But, it would be especially beneficial for companies to dig into what’s stressing their employees out and determine what’s within the businesses’ power tochange.
Across the country, companies are struggling to meet their workers’ healthcare needs, while, at the same time, implementing programs to boost workplace health and productivity. Yet, as Forbes points out, “Those programs can only work if companies aren’t at the same time undermining them with stress-inducing management practices. It’s in the employer’s best interest to look into this connection, both for the good of their employees and for their own organizations.”
A Multi-Faceted Cure
Certainly, the previously mentioned health insurance and health-focused programs in the workplace are helpful, but, as Forbes continues to drive home, “employers can help address these problems by looking beyond health care programs to changes in their management and operations structures.” That can feel like a heavy burden being placed on the shoulders of businesses.
However, in the average business, that could play out in many simple ways. Company events can build comradery and a family atmosphere. A mentorship program often breeds growth and development. Making employee retention a priority produces a sense of loyalty and security. Stress levels can also be reduced by ensuring leadership is clearly expressing realistic performance expectations, providing effective feedback, and consistently praising efforts.
A Balanced Approach
No one could logically dismiss the negative effects that stress in the workplace has on businesses and employees every day. But, it’s also not an easy problem to solve. Workplace stress researchers, and university professors, Joel Goh, Jeffrey Pfeffer and Stefano A. Zenios are fully aware of this and discussed it in their recent paper on this same subject. “We do not claim that an ideal stress-free workplace is realistically or economically achievable.”
However, each business leader can make progress by finding the stress triggers within their own companies and determining ways to alleviate as much of the problem as possible. The three authors’ research confirms that, while “these stressors cannot be completely eradicated in practice”, the simple act of identifying and addressing stress points “could potentially go a long way.” That’s a very modest cure for such a widespread affliction.