Nowadays, stress is a common factor in a modern workplace. Employers expect you to put in long hours, answer work emails at all times and gladly sacrifice your off-days or vacation time for the sake of your job. However, numerous research findings prove that overworking does not lead to greater output. More often than not, regularly clocking 60-80 hour work weeks leads to stress.
Overworking is not the only factor that can lead to workplace stress. You can easily get stressed if you are continuously labouring under a heavy workload, if you’re expected to consistently meet tight deadlines or are required to keep hitting high targets at work. Even external factors can contribute towards a stressful life. For instance, you can end up stressed if you are experiencing family troubles with your children or spouse. Alternatively, stress might be the result of health problems you or your family are going through.
Effects of stress
Left unchecked, stress can wreak havoc not only on your personal life but also on your career. It can give rise to health complications, such as diabetes and heart disease. Other effects of stress include poor sleep patterns, impaired memory and even depression. Depending on how stressed you are, you might find it hard to concentrate on your work, and this could end up affecting your job performance. In extreme cases, stress has been known to lead to drug and alcohol abuse.
If you are an employer, you should be concerned about the levels of stress in your workplace. Highly stressed employees have been found to have lower levels of concentration than their counterparts. This means that they are likely to make more mistakes and have poorer interpersonal skills. Furthermore, employees who turn to alcohol and drugs in an effort to cope with stress can end up causing injuries, accidents and even deaths in the workplace.
All the above prove that workplace stress is bad for your business. If you’re still not convinced, consider the fact that a stressful workplace often leads to absenteeism and high employee turnover. You might also have to pay high health insurance premiums for employees who seek medical attention. Overall, your business will suffer both loss of output and cash.
Dealing with workplace stress
In order to reduce or eliminate stress in the workplace, you need to identify the triggers. Are your employees stressed because of tight deadlines, high targets or personal issues?
The next step is to decide what actions to take to ensure problems do not occur in the workplace. These can range from giving your employees a forum to express themselves to organizing team-building functions to improve morale. Workplace drug testing is also an option should you notice that employees are using alcohol or drugs. These days, there are non-invasive urine, hair or oral fluid lab tests that can establish whether your employees are working under the influence of drugs. Lastly, you can decide to have an in-house counsellor or therapist to help your employees work through their issues.
Keep in mind that the mental health of your employees is vital to your business’s output. It is therefore your responsibility as an employer to ensure that your employees have a healthy and safe workplace.