Imagine a work environment in which employees are actively engaged in their tasks, smiling, happy, and eager to use their skills for the greater good. Now consider what that would look like in terms of productivity and profitability for your business? Making the workplace as stress-free as possible is one of many ways that employers can tap into the full potential of their human capital.
Cost of Stress on the American Business and Workforce
According to research from EnMast, an online community for business owners, the cost of stress is staggering for businesses—nearly $300 billion in lost revenues due to employee turnover, absenteeism, and loss of productivity. The workplace causes stress for 83 percent of all employees in the USA, and 40 percent of workers say they are less productive because of stress alone. The EnMast survey revealed that the leading factors that are causing stress for the American worker include:
- Low salaries
- Too heavy workload or unrealistic expectations
- Long and inflexible work hours
- Work interfering with personal and family time
- Lack of professional growth and advancement
- Lack of participating in decision making
- Uncertain or undefined job expectations
- Job insecurity
Stress at work can manifest itself in many ways, and it’s clear that employers need to boost employee morale and performance by correcting these and other common stressors in the workplace. Why not invest in your organizational success with a plan that reduces office tension and gives employees a chance to be their best? Here are five ways you can create a stress free office environment for your employees.
1. Improve Work Life Balance – As the workplace evolves into a more technologically enabled environment, the ability to establish greater work life balance improves. Reduce stress and think into the future by establishing flexible work schedules, telecommuting, and other remote methods of getting the job done.
2. Make Compensation a Strategy – Low salaries and poor benefits only add to the stress of working. Make compensation performance based and pay your people well based on their years of service and loyalty to your company mission. Find ways to include alternative benefits and perks into the mix, such as corporate wellness programs and incentives.
3. Define and Refine Job Expectations – If your employees are having trouble handling workloads and there are too many people trying to perform the same tasks in different ways, it’s time for an overhaul. Do a skills assessment of all employees, review and update all job descriptions, create a standard onboarding process, and shift work tasks to the employees who are well-matched.
4. Create Employee Development Programs – Your best business asset is your people, therefore what you put into them; you get out of them. Identify your key employees who have the potential for something more, then support their career goals by offering development programs and educational support. This helps reduce their stress because they then have the knowledge to do a great job.
5. Give Employees a Voice – In the global recession, it’s become much more common for employees to worry about job security and business longevity. Layoffs and company shutdowns are a scary prospect. For those left behind, the stress of taking on more work can spiral out of control. Therefore, an open communication strategy in which employees are respected given a chance to share ideas for improvement and growth is a huge step in the right direction.
Use these tips for reducing stress in the workplace, while supporting the health and well-being of all your employees, and the return on this investment will be a positive one for your business.
Tess C. Taylor, PHR is a certified Web Content Manager, Human Resources Professional, and Career Coach with nearly two-decades of writing experience. Tess also founded the popular blogazine, The HR Writer. As a regular contributor to multiple HR and Business publications, including Benefitfocus, Dale Carnegie Institute, HR Magazine, PayScale, and US News Careers, Tess is dedicated to educating others about important human resources and marketing topics worldwide. You can connect with Tess on Google+ , Facebook and LinkedIn.