Employee Stress – Costs, Causes and Solutions

Employee Stress – Costs, Causes and Solutions

Do members of your staff call in, miss deadlines or seem to struggle to keep up with their workload? The struggle could be tied to their emotional wellbeing. There’s a very good chance some of your employees are stressed, and it’s costing you money.

A Colonial Life Study surveyed 1,506 full-time employees and found their stress level was costing their company billions every week. Yes, you read that right. Every week.

The High Cost of Employee Stress

The U.S. Bureau for Labor Statistics says the United States has around 128.5 million adults working full-time at an average of $21/hour. With that many employees, minutes and hours of reduced productivity add up quickly. Here are a few highlights from the study.

  • Over 70 percent of employees report they spend time on the clock worrying.
  • Of those, 28 percent spend less than an hour of paid time worrying about stressors.
  • Half of them – a full 50 percent spend between one and five paid hours thinking about stressors.
  • 16 percent spend between five and 10 hours.
  • Six percent spend more than 10 hours at work stressed.

When they’re stressed, 41 percent say they’re less productive. Thirty-three percent are less engaged. Fourteen percent of workers say they’re absent more frequently and 15 percent say stress makes them start looking for a new job. When employees experience stress, they’re more likely to have health problems, depression, trouble concentrating and decreased motivation.

Employee Stress Causes

You can’t do much about stress from personal relationships or other outside factors, but it’s possible to reduce workplace stressors. Employees feel stressed by situations that are unpredictable, uncontrollable or unfamiliar. They also report stress when performance expectations are ambiguous or feel unattainable. Key factors include:

  • The need for long hours or work overload
  • Personal life struggles caused by work overload
  • Feeling excluded from decision-making processes
  • Struggles with administrators stemming from unclear expectations, different communication styles or poor management
  • Physical discomfort caused by the workplace environment

What Employers Can Do

The first step is becoming aware of problems and making emotional health a priority. Look for signs of employee stress like frequent sick days, moodiness or declining productivity. Then, ask employees for feedback.

Acknowledge the reality of stress and its impact on daily living. Then, seek out ways to relieve some of the pressure.

For employees that are stressed over earnings, employers might provide help understand benefits or resources for financial planning. If work causes physical discomfort, invest in improving office ergonomics. Help employees better handle stress with contests around healthy habits or opportunities for daily physical activity.

For most employees, just feeling supported by their companies will be a huge stress relief. When they have resources and support, they are better equipped to deal with stress to stay productive and engaged.

Holiday Stress – What Causes It, How to Reduce It

Holiday Stress – What Causes It, How to Reduce It

This month the holiday season cranks into high gear, and not everyone is feeling merry and bright. Many East Texans feel financial stress, loneliness, relationship issues and fatigue. Often it feels like work pressure seems to intensify.

If you feel overwhelmed, you’re not alone. Let’s look at some of the most common causes of holiday stress and find ways to release some of that pressure.

List Workplace Stress Causes

It’s easy to get so busy putting out fires you don’t stop and think what’s causing them or how they’re affecting you. Take a few minutes on your daily commute to make a mental list of what’s creating your feeling of stress. Are you facing deadlines on any of the following?

  • End-of-year reporting
  • Conducting or receiving performance evaluations
  • Participating in company holiday celebrations – choosing a Secret Santa gift, figuring out what to wear, arranging your food contribution etc.
  • Planning for and working Black Friday and other holiday sales
  • Training and managing seasonal staff
  • Working extra hours when others take off for holiday vacation or shopping
  • Handling your most demanding workload during holiday-shortened weeks

When you start making your list, you’re probably going to recognize you feel overwhelmed because you face a formidable mountain of demands. If you haven’t been bubbling over with holiday cheer, that’s okay. Give yourself a break.

You may also be facing personal challenges. The holidays highlight strained family relationships and intensify grief over lost loved ones. All the extra shopping, entertaining and travel can strain any individual’s budget. Sometimes it helps just to acknowledge what you’re dealing with.

Be There For Others

Being kind to others will help lighten your own mood. Be on the lookout for people who need an extra word of encouragement.

If your co-worker is going through a difficult divorce or you remember your employee lost a parent last year, be available if they need someone to talk to. When people go out of their way to make the season joyful for others, be generous with your gratitude.

How Managers Can Reduce Holiday Stress

If you’re in charge of your team, you are integral to the emotional climate in your workplace. You can help struggling staff cope with holiday stress in several ways.

Encourage healthy habits. Highlight employee fitness programs at the end of the year as much as you do at the beginning. If you’re planning food for corporate events or picking up breakfast for the group, provide healthy choices.

Accept “no.” Be understanding if employees choose not to participate in workplace holiday activities.

Include employees in decisions. Find out how they want to celebrate the holidays. Instead of a party, would they rather organize a toy drive or participate in a charity 5k?

Allow breaks when needed. Consider making one of your holiday gifts to staff a half day to do whatever they need to take care of themselves.

A little thoughtfulness and sensitivity goes a long way. It may be what eliminates just enough of the pressure to turn a stressful holiday into a merry one.

Sources:

http://www.clearrock.com/5-ways-managers-can-reduce-holiday-stress-in-the-workplace/

https://www.inc.com/marissa-levin/the-dark-side-of-holiday-season-how-leaders-can-help-employees-cope-with-holiday-stress.html

https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/stress/art-20047544