Stress in the workplace is a growing problem that affects all workplaces of all shapes sizes and types, especially over the last year. Workplace stress not only affects the physical and mental health of your employees, but the productivity of your organisation. Typically workplace stress arises where the work demands of various types and combinations exceed the employees ability to either cope or succeed. Stress related to work can be caused by a number of different things, from the pressure a person may be feeling to the demands they are placed on them, to conflict between them and other people. It is important that management know how to deal with workplace stress to maintain the health of their employees.
Psychological symptoms can be just as varied. As well as the expected depression and anxiety and feelings of being overwhelmed, symptoms can include cognitive difficulties such as concentration problems, irritability, pessimism, and feeling discouraged. These unsurprisingly produce behavioural changes that can also be an indicator that your colleague or employee is feeling stressed. One of the most common of these is increased time off either as holiday, sickness or unexplained. It can also cause aggressive behaviour such as being argumentative, or problems with interpersonal relationships and mood swings. It can also cause diminished creativity or initiative as people struggle to engage with their work in a way that they used to.
As well as psychological and behavioural symptoms, stress has a physical affect on people. This can include feelings of fatigue, muscular tension, headaches, heart palpitations, as well as sleeping difficulties like insomnia.
Main Work Stressors
There are many possible causes of work stress. One of the causes of this may be problems within the management. Organisation culture, change in management, lack of support from team leaders or management, an unmanageable work load, changes in organisation and tight deadlines are all problems that can be solved within management teams that will drastically reduce the stress of your employees.
Ensuring that your employees have the proper training and tools for the job goes a long way to mitigating workplace stress. The physical environment of the workplace, insufficient skills for the job, an inadequate work environment, and a lack of proper resources can all cause stress. The stress of trying to do a job without the proper training or without the resources to do so causes a lot of stress as it can feel like no matter how hard one tries the job can never be done to the standard required.
The first step to helping employees manage their stress is to educate them on how they can help themselves. Ensure that employees know that they can bring up their concerns with you and create an open space for them to do so securely. Helping them with organisation, how to take care of themselves, and the benefit of regular relaxation all go a long way to ensuring that one is equipped to deal with the stress of work.
How Management Can Help
Workplace stress is a significant health and safety issue. Companies should take positive steps towards trying to ensure that their employees are not subjected to unnecessary stress. It is management’s responsibility to ensure a safe and comfortable working environment. This means making the working environment feel safe both physically and emotionally. Ensuring that your employees feel that they can bring up any issues they have by de-stigmatising workplace stress. Ensuring that there are clear channels for people to follow so that they can bring up the things that are stressing them.