Recognizing Stress in Employees (& How to Help)
Stress is a normal and even necessary part of life but experiencing too much of it, too often can wreak havoc on health, personal relationships and even work life. And there’s a lot of stress out there. From over scheduling to financial concerns, most of us live a fast paced life that hardly leaves time to regroup. What’s worse is that according to a recent survey conducted for Everest College, 80% of us are stressed out by at least one thing at work. When stress impacts an employee, it has an inevitable effect on their work and level of performance. Some common signs of employee stress are:
- Lower quality of work, lack of concentration and productivity
- Indecisiveness, poor judgment
- Irritability, withdrawal from socializing
- Frequent minor illnesses or increased sick leave
- Shift in work hours (consistently staying late or coming in early, not taking vacations or weekends)
So what can you do as an employer to help mitigate stress at work and keep your team happy? The most effective start is to try and set up organizational structure and culture with stress prevention in mind. While you, of course, can’t ensure that your employees never have any stress, you can do your best to make sure that they aren’t systematically being set up for chronic stress through their jobs.
Here are some ways you can go about accomplishing this:
- Clearly define roles: Employees should know who is responsible for what and understand exactly what is expected of them in their job.
- Delegate wisely: As often as possible, try to assign employees tasks that match their interests and skillsets.
- Try to be fair: Make sure your employees aren’t saddled with too much work or unrealistic deadlines by talking with them about their bandwidth before assigning tasks. If your top pick is already overscheduled, discuss your priorities together or consider assigning the project to someone else.
- Say thanks: Recognize and reward your employees for good work performance and offer opportunities for career advancement and development.
- Set a tone of positive work/life balance: Encourage your employees to take their breaks, lunches and vacations. Also, consider creating additional breaks for special socializing and team building from time to time.