In 2019, the American Stress Institute conducted a study and found that 83% of U.S. workers suffer from stress at work. Against the backdrop of news about the spread of a new type of virus, the "stress epidemic" remains the main and most destructive. How does stress affect your employees, how much does the business lose, and how to reduce work stress levels during this difficult time? We will answer these and other questions in this article.
Business Losses Due to Employee Stress
When working with talents, it is important to realize that they must be happy in the workplace. Stress harms business more than it seems. Don't believe it? Check out the statistics from the American Stress Institute:
- American businesses lose up to $ 300 billion annually due to workplace stress.
- Around a million employees are absent from work every day for stress-related reasons.
Causes of Stress at Work
Even a stable economic situation at work does not guarantee a stress-free workflow. The most common causes, according to statistics, are overwork at work, the boss's leadership style, and problems at home. About 60% of people, for example, are afraid of their leaders, especially if their bosses are too authoritarian and do not provide any support. Lack of rewards, vague boundaries of responsibilities, and authorities also negatively affect the nervous system.
Another stress trigger is the level of passion. If a person does not like his work, if it does not arouse interest, then this leads to constant dissatisfaction and the accumulation of negative experiences.
The situation in the office is exacerbated by the fact that, as psychologists have found, employees spread stress-related feelings and emotions between each other just like the flu. The bad mood of one of the employees instantly spreads through the office. As a result, others become victims of the so-called "secondary stress". It turns out that humans can absorb emotional fluids like sponges. Filled with other people's feelings, they begin not only to think negatively but also to express the work stress received from the outside with the help of body language, changing posture, gait, and facial expression.
What to Do as a Leader: 3 Ways to Reduce Stress Level of Your Staff
- Create ideal conditions. Researchers Karl Söderstrom of Stockholm University and André Spicer of the City University of London believe that employers should not invest in treadmills, but rather provide natural light, access to fresh air, and some fruit. It is also worth paying attention to what specifically demotivates and frustrates your employees. Analyze the situations that precede productivity loss and improve the work environment.
- Implement more breaks. In 2019, the World Health Organization officially recognized burnout as a mental disorder. Encourage employees to take care of their health in their daily routines to stay balanced and reduce stress. Coffee breaks, introducing daytime walks and short sports breaks can do wonders for our mental health. Even a 15-minute “do nothing” break that pulls employees out of meetings and deadlines can help relieve stress.
- Provide useful tools. In early 2020, Starbucks made headlines with a solution to tackle employee stress. The company has implemented meditation apps as bonuses for staff. Starbucks also announced partnerships with several international foundations working to raise awareness about mental health. As a result, coffee shops in the USA and Canada introduced special training for all managers.
- Make sure each of your employees is doing the task he is responsible for. As we have mentioned, overloads plus the increased responsibility for the tasks that aren’t directly related to a certain job description, increase the stress level. For example, if your Head of Marketing is forced to write content for the company’s blog and social profiles on his own, he may feel stressed and overwhelmed. Consider hiring the Best Writers Online on Online Writers Rating custom writing reviews website instead, and revise the responsibilities of other employees as well. Find the way to do complex tasks easier.
- Find a unique way to cope with employees’ stress. There are must-go ways to help employees feel calmer, for example, smart management of all in-progress tasks, however, stress management also has room for creativity. Some of the most unusual global workplace stress management practices include:
- In Japan, workers are allowed to hit a rubber doll representing their director,
- In China, before work or during a lunch break, hundreds of thousands of people do health-improving wushu complexes,
- Office yoga is widespread in India. It is also very popular in the USA. The number of companies offering yoga lessons directly in the office is increasing year by year.
- In Germany, many companies have psychological relief rooms.
- In the US, more and more companies are organizing office dance schools, where professional teachers teach employees.
Stress Prevention: Motivation, Learning, and Control
Having studied the causes of stress and the ways to deal with it, you should not only apply your knowledge to improve the work of your subordinates but also share and teach them the most important things that will help in dealing with stress on their own. Therefore, you should teach your employees how to:
- evaluate their working time by eliminating unnecessary action and time waste
- prioritize their to-do list and stay focused on the most important task until it is completely finished
- feel free to ask colleagues for help but don’t offer their help if nobody is asking for it
- organize and make their work environment as comfortable as possible. Allow your staff to customize their workplaces by putting home plants, photos, and other pleasant things.
- release the accumulated tension through the appropriate physical activity - at the fitness club or in the dance hall.
- promote short breaks every working hour.
- breathe calmly. Best yoga practices suggest that if you feel stress is increasing, take 10 slow, deep breaths. Alternatively, you may offer your staff to use special apps for proper breathing - most of them are free or almost free.
- smile! The mimic muscles activated by the smile send signals to the brain centers that are responsible for the release of the "happiness hormone" endorphin. Also, a smile brings a smile - more often smiling at your colleagues and yourself, you will feel how stress will decrease and problems will be solved easier.
Stress will always be a part of our life. Even if you fight it tirelessly, your employees will still have bad days sometimes. The task of the leader is to reduce the level of stress and to do everything possible on the part of the company so that the stress in daily work is as low as possible.