No matter the sector, any business can significantly suffer from stressed-out staff.
Are your staff feeling the pinch of stress? We explore workplace stress and how your business can effectively address it.
Workplace Stress and its Causes
Individuals can experience stress during different periods and in different realms of their personal lives. But stress originating from work-related issues is the most common.
Staff working longer hours can become stressed, not only about their performance but the time lost in their personal lives.
Productivity can be a key component here. A lack of productivity from an individual may mean they have to stay past 5pm to get a task finished. But more often than not, employees are given too many tasks for their working hours.
Unfair distribution of work to some staff over others, work being given to untrained staff, or workloads not being distributed in a timely fashion are the result of mismanagement.
While staff may want to be productive, this can only take place when workplace structures are flexible and expectations are clear.
Mismanagement of staff in any of the above ways can stress out colleagues, leading job dissatisfaction and possibly a loss of talent for your business.
2. Unrealistic Expectations
Having high expectations of your staff and business as a whole is positive – it shows a desire for growth and progress.
However, expectations can quickly become unrealistic if you are not careful. Productivity is important for any business, but if staff are stressed, this can hamper your ability to perform.
Expecting staff to complete heavy workloads in an unrealistic time can cause stress and hinder productivity. If staff lack critical training, and the working hours to complete those tasks, quality will suffer and so too will their mental health.
3. Poor Company Culture
If staff feel overworked, mismanaged and under pressure from unrealistic expectations, company culture can be poor.
The cultural pressure to work harder and for longer can take its toll on your employees. No longer will your workplace be viewed as positive by staff and their families. Your reputation as an employer may also suffer.
This cultural expectation damages an employee’s work-life balance. Becoming increasingly stressed, staff may feel demotivated and unsatisfied as a representative of your company. Your talent retention may suffer, as staff seek a better working culture, and business performance will undoubtedly deteriorate.
How Best to Support Stressed-Out Staff
As a business, its crucial that you work to prevent stress from taking over your staff. It can hinder productivity, deteriorate relations between staff and your company and damage your reputation as an employer.
So, what can be done?
Without turning into ‘big brother’, monitoring your staff, the hours they work and the tasks they can complete will indicate how overworked they may be.
This can help to resolve any mismanagement issues, with all staff benefitting from fairer task distribution and a breakdown of unrealistic expectations.
2. Improve Company Culture
This will not be an overnight solution. But small steps can make a difference. These include ensuring:
- All breaks are taken by staff
- All staff have the opportunity to confidentially voice concerns or issues that may be causing them to feel stressed
- Staff are offered the opportunity to get away from work stations during breaks
Adequate training of all staff in their roles is crucial. Staff will feel stressed when they are overworked, but this can also creep-in when they feel unable to complete certain tasks.
If they are forced to take longer to complete a task, this can impede on an employee’s work-life balance.
In Ireland, mental health is now high on the agenda for employers as a way of differentiating themselves and increasing their talent acquisition. To remain a competitive employer, your business should take mindfulness training seriously.
In fact, studies have found that staff who feel the need to mask their feelings can experience exhaustion and stress.
Demonstrating your willingness to invest in your own staff’s mental health, training in mindfulness will give employees the ability to voice concerns and ensure they are fighting fit for your organisation.