When your employees are stressed, it’s impossible not to see it. They’re shorter-tempered with one another, more likely to get sick or have health problems, and, as it turns out, are less productive. Stressed employees report that only about 9% of them are engaged at work, which means that the more stress you heap on your employees, the less they’re going to perform for you. If you fear that your employees’ performance is decreasing, make sure that you understand how stress can affect employee engagement.
Stress doesn’t have to be related to money. Certainly, the amount of money that they’re making can have a significant impact on employee stress. If they’re unable to pay their bills, they may find themselves wondering why it’s worth giving their all at their jobs at all! Employee stress can stem from more than just financial problems, however. Not having enough employees to do the job, too much work piled on a single individual, a lack of clear instructions on how to do the job or how to prioritize, and a lack of support can all cause employee stress to skyrocket.
Alleviating that stress is often within your control. You can’t always fix inadequate staffing or drop a heavy workload during a high-volume time, but you can take steps to manage the environment and decrease employee stress. Creating an environment that encourages teamwork and camaraderie provides a baseline toward increasing employee motivation and engagement. So does offering employees the opportunity to work on projects that they find interesting or rewarding. When your employees care about their work, whether because of their coworkers or because of the actual work that they’re doing, they’ll often find it easier to set the stress aside and go on with their day.
Anticipate stress ahead of time and work to correct it before it becomes a problem. In many cases, you’ll be able to see potential causes of stress coming before they hit. You might, for example, hire people that you feel will be a good fit for the existing personalities in your office environment in order to prevent relational stress before it starts. You can also recognize potential causes of stress like an upcoming busy season, a holiday that will cause changes at work, or the temporary absence of a coworker who handles certain duties and take the necessary steps to help support your employees before it starts.
Dealing with employee stress is a critical part of keeping your employees motivated, engaged, and productive. If you discover that your employees seem too stressed out, use some of these strategies to alleviate stress and help to predict stressful situations ahead of time. It will help ensure a more productive and engaged work environment for everyone.
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