Work-related stress is a major problem that has been affecting companies worldwide. It negatively impacts employee health and productivity. You can see its domino effect in the form of reduced organizational productivity, low employee morale, and lack of commitment to work.
Several factors in the workplace can cause work-related stress, such as unattainable goals, work demands, and lack of employee capability and capacity. Some employees also feel under pressure when their work demands exceed their skills. Team conflict, poor communication, and constant changes are also stress-causing factors.
Workplace culture can either nurture employee well-being or deteriorate it. As an employer, it’s your responsibility to build a culture where working conditions support employee health and well-being.
Let’s look into some common workplace stressors and how you can tackle them to manage work-related stress.
Why is A Healthy Work Environment Important?
Maintaining a nurturing and healthy environment where everyone can thrive is a necessity. It’s key to boosting employee retention, morale, engagement, and, most importantly, organizational productivity. A healthy work culture empowers employees and offers opportunities to grow professionally and personally.
In contrast, a toxic work culture hampers employee productivity and eventually contributes to organizational downfall.
Common Work Stressors That Impact Employee Health
Workplace conditions include the circumstances, demands, and overall job environment that can directly impact an employee’s work activity and satisfaction. These conditions can cause work-related stress if not managed right.
Poor working conditions such as inefficient processes, poorly-lit workplaces, uncompetitive culture, lack of technology, and poor hygiene can undermine employee well-being.
A comfortable and efficient workplace can boost employee morale, whereas unfavorable conditions can hamper performance. For instance, an unhealthy work environment affects their health and leads to increased absenteeism and turnover.
Poorly-lit offices can hinder daily tasks. Working in a dimly-lit environment can cause lethargy and fatigue, especially if the job involves working long hours on computers. Bad lighting puts unwanted and unnecessary stress on the eyes.
Bad or poorly-lit spaces lead to headaches, anxiety, and eye strain. If you want to improve working conditions, incorporate natural light for improved productivity.
Work processes are equally important to sustain operational efficiency in the organization. Any inefficiencies in day-to-day operations can hinder overall growth. Redundant activities, long and complex processes, and wasteful tasks can affect employee productivity.
You can break lengthy complex processes into short attainable activities and eliminate redundant activities. Evaluate ongoing processes to identify how you can maximize operational efficiency to facilitate your employees better.
Lack of Technology
Today, every business, whether small or large, is digitized. They rely on technology to ensure connectivity.
Lack of innovation can hurt productivity. Technology offers modern solutions to work-related problems. Technology and innovation can modernize your workplace logistics from bottom to top to streamline processes.
Slow, ineffective, and outdated systems can cause more stress than you think. Modern technology can address several work-related challenges, eventually reducing stress and boosting employee motivation.
Healthy workplace competition is fundamental to driving employee performance. It keeps the workforce engaged. Most companies experience high and dysfunctional turnover because workplace culture doesn’t align with their expectations.
Just like yawns, toxic work culture is contagious. It can produce a disengaged line of workers. Create a culture based on social learning allowing employees to learn from peers. Find a workforce whose expectations resonate with yours.
Workplace politics refers to people exploiting others using persuasion, abilities, and social skills. It also means undermining others’ efforts or taking advantage of them. Whether politics occurs in public or among employees, it can detriment workplace harmony.
These political issues can snowball into complex complaints leading to more stress. A workplace is as good as its people and the decisions they make. Anything that hampers their decision-making ability can impact employee well-being.
You cannot avoid this workplace dimension but can address it through active listening and better management policies.
A hygienic and clean environment is a selling point. Particularly, the workplace hygiene bar became very high after the pandemic. Communal spaces are more prone to transmittable diseases.
Poor hygiene is a deal breaker as it diminishes employees’ ability to focus on work. It can also trigger negative thinking. An untidy and dirty office can also put off recruits and clients. When entering the premises, people build an impression of your work culture and conditions.
Make sure you have a clean and tidy space to support employee health and well-being and attract potential clients and recruits.
Compensation and rewards play a key role in employee motivation. These factors can become work stressors if employees feel they’re being underpaid. How well you execute benefit strategies will influence the quality of their performance.
A good compensation and benefits package can increase retention and employee well-being. Monetary benefits remain one of the top priorities for many employees. These benefits can boost workforce motivation.
Low Regard for Employee Health
Nothing is more distressing than when an employer doesn’t consider workforce health and safety. Besides, employees are entitled to a safe and healthy work environment. A healthy working environment directly affects employee health. It motivates them to work promptly and perform better.
In contrast, poor safety protocols send a negative message. It shows employees that their health and safety aren’t a major concern for their employer. It also contributes to higher stress, absenteeism, and lack of motivation.
The unreasonable workload is one of the major causes of fatigue and stress in the workforce. Many organizations employ a limited workforce to carry out complex and time-consuming tasks to reduce workforce expenses. This can lead to high stress and exhaustion.
Working in highly stressful jobs is detrimental to employee health. Instead, employers can minimize work-related stress by breaking down tasks into attainable activities. Alternatively, you can offer flexible working hours and more discretion to your employees.
Job Security Concerns
Job security concern is one of the main cause of stress among employees. It goes way beyond the legal contract. A trusting relationship between employees and employers is at the center of job security. Job security means an assurance of a constant source of income for employees, which translates into reduced stress.
If an employee feels threatened, it gives way to feelings of uncertainty and discontent. Employees may think their company’s future is at stake, leading to resentment. Lack of job security also affects work performance.
Absence of Recognition
Employees are more engaged when they feel appreciated at work. They tend to be diligent and happy in their jobs. Acknowledging their efforts and achievements publically makes a world of difference.
Many employers associated recognition with rewards and expenses. However, praising your employees or simply appreciating a job well done can mean a lot more to employees than you can imagine.
Lack of recognition may confuse employees. If they don’t hear from their manager or employer, it can lead to them trying hard, which translates into increased pressure and stress. Don’t hesitate to recognize your employees’ efforts because your employees work hard to hear a few words of acknowledgment.
Unstable Business Condition
An unstainable business environment increases uncertainty. In the event of any business disruption, companies often plan business continuity to protect their business from damages, financial losses, productivity losses, and partner relationships.
Ineffectively managed business disruptions can cost a lot. It comes from missed opportunities, broken service, lost revenue, and poor employee performance. These unpredictable situations can increase employee stress and anxiety for fear of the unknown.
When planning for any organizational change, consider how it will impact your workforce. Involve them in the process, ask for their input and help them transition through the process.
How Can You Manage Work-Related Stress?
You can improve your employees’ well-being through different solutions. For instance, monetary and non-monetary benefits, flexible hours, role autonomy, growth opportunities, and rewards can boost their health.
Flexible Working Hours
Flexible working hours have multiple benefits. They empower employees to schedule their work arrangements on their own. It also reduces the absenteeism rate, supports their mental health, and eliminates any negative impact on work-life balance.
Total Compensation System
Total compensation refers to the complete package that an employee receives, including non-direct and direct compensation such as salary, retirement and health care benefits, paid time off, and incentive pay.
You should aim to build an equitable compensation system, meaning there’s an internal consistency of salary within your organization. This doesn’t mean everyone receives the same salary. Rather, equitable pay ensures that each employee receives fair treatment in terms of compensation anchored on their expectations.
Growth opportunities are equally important to reduce stress and improve employee engagement. It improves job security and allows employees to envision the organization’s future. Additionally, professional and personal career opportunities can help you retain talented employees.
Role autonomy refers to the freedom to make decisions and expand job responsibilities. Studies show that role autonomy is linked to emotional exhaustion. The higher the role autonomy, the lower is emotional exhaustion among employees. Ultimately, it reduces work-related stress and anxiety.
Social support can directly impact health and reduces the effects of work-related stresses. Unfortunately, organizations make it hard to provide support or build meaningful relationships. For instance, forced curved performance ranking reduces teamwork and collaboration. It makes people pit against each other to reach the top.
Similarly, transactional workplaces that see workers as factors of production are equally destructive.
Instead, build a social support system where people aren’t intimidated by each other nor treated as work machines. Create a nurturing environment where people can thrive, support each other and work as a team.
Health-related benefits and rewards can greatly reduce employee stress. A healthy workplace is conducive to happier employees. Health-related benefits such as medical or dental coverage, life insurance policies, yoga, gyms, and spa days can boost employee well-being.
Many organizations offer corporate massage to their employees. These massages are specially designed to cater to employees’ needs. These spa days allow employees to decompress and unwind to take off the stresses of their jobs.
Recommended Read: Scientifically Proven Benefits of Massage Therapy
Similarly, many companies arrange days to promote employee health and well-being. These benefits make employees feel taken care of.
How Can Corporate Massages Reduce Work-Related Stress?
Corporate massages promote corporate wellness. The classic massage techniques improve employee well-being, making them attentive to detail, more productive and engaged at work, and less stressed.
Massage involves kneading and rubbing different body areas to stimulate blood circulation. It wakes up the muscles and reduces stiffness which is key to getting brain activity back in action. If your employees struggle to remain active during work hours due to work-related stress, corporate massages can be the best way to manage stress.
Recommended Read: Why A Massage Therapist is Way Better Than A Massage Chair
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