Imagine yourself being stuck in a traffic jam or trapped in packed subway train during rush hours to work, only to find mountains of paperwork waiting to get done at your desk. These daily nuisances are enough to drain up your energy. Add on hectic deadlines, annoying co-workers, and uncooperative managers, these pressures will put you into a stressful situation. While some of these circumstances are unavoidable, what should employers do to help employees cope with stress at work?
According to recent study conducted by Towers Willis Watson, stress is among the top three leading workforce issues in Asia Pacific. The study reveals that lack of work-life balance and unhealthy work environment remain to be most common sources of workplace stress. Long working hours, higher job expectations, and huge workloads have made modern life more complicated than ever. Additionally, the extended use of technology has blurred the line between work and personal lives, making employees tied to their job even at home.
Keeping employees healthy mentally is part of employer’s greatest challenge. While mental issues such as stress, depression, and anxiety might seem like ‘abstract’ concepts, this might lead to more serious problems if not addressed immediately. High stress levels will not only harm your employees’ physical health and emotional state, it will also harm the business profits too.
When your employees feel stressed and worn out, it will be difficult for them to focus on their job. This in turn, will result in lost productivity and higher medical-related costs. Then the question remains, what can employers do to manage stress and spread positivity to the workplace? Here’s how:
See: 78% Singaporean CFOs Anticipate Stress Levels of Staff to Increase Over the Next 3 Years
Make sure that your employees get the breaks they deserve. You should be concerned when you notice that one of your employees is working 8 hours straight at their desk without a break. If anything, professionalism and loyalty cannot be measured by one’s ability to be a tireless robot.
Therefore, you should be proactive and encourage employees to take breaks for once in awhile. This strategy will keep them away from stress and work-related fatigue.
Strict nine-to-five working hours has long been the source of stress among employees, especially working mothers. Visionary leaders understand that what matters is the result, rather than the hours put in. That being said, it is time to offer them greater flexibility. Rather than locking your employees in the office, you should allow them to work from home or enable flexible work arrangement during particular period of time.
When employees are given authority and freedom to control their own hours, they will be more responsible towards their jobs.
Make sure that your company has well-arranged wellness initiative as a part of the business strategic plan. When you have sketched out everything, next thing you should do is to socialise the schemes so that the employees can actively participate in the programs.
Be it healthy eating style or regular morning exercises before work, leaders should ensure that all employees are aware of the company’s commitment to realise healthy work environment.
Sometimes, employees are stressful due to their inability to share their work load with trusted party. Be an understanding leader and take time to listen to your employees’ problems. Embrace an honest and open communication lines, where everybody can express their thoughts and ideas without being judged by others.
By creating a positive and supportive work environment, it will help create a stronger team bonding and healthier workplace culture. To accommodate them, you should provide necessary facilities and tools, such as fill your recreational room with stimulating games, snack bars and toys.
You probably might have heard about this, ‘Employees should arrive before their boss, and only leave after they do.’ It is natural that employees (especially new hires) are looking upto the higher-ups. Therefore, it is imperative for you as a team leader to lead by example, and exemplify by acts on how to achieve work-life balance.
Read also: Trust Issues: Most Often Employees Hop Jobs or Quit Because of Stress and Distrust