Employee Stress Management
Chances are that you likely know more people who suffer from workplace stress issues now than those who do not.
Mental Health America surveyed 5,300 American workers from February to September 2020 as part of its Mind the Workplace 2021 report. Nine out of 10 employees said that work stress affects their mental health, and more than 65% said they find it difficult to concentrate in their work environment (up from 46% in 2018).
Other surveys report similar results. According to a recent Kaiser Family Foundation survey, 41% of people said they have depression or anxiety disorder symptoms.
Working from home and other pandemic-related measures have done little to curb the stress. Indeed found that 52% of people who took its survey on workplace burnout said they were still experiencing it in 2021. That number was up from 43% in a pre-COVID survey that asked the same questions.
Mental health issues can seriously impact employee performance, so employers can benefit from helping their employees improve their workplace stress management. Here are several strategies companies can use to help with employee stress management.
1 – Set up an Employee Assistance Plan (EAP) program to help with workplace stress.
Whether you have a small or enterprise business, your employees’ mental health needs can be highly diverse. Some may be struggling with substance abuse, while others are dealing with family problems. An EAP counselor can help them assess their challenges, sort out their issues, and relieve some of the stress in their lives.
In fact, according to a Gartner study of 5,000 workers with an EAP, 49% indicated they had used their company’s mental health service while only 20% said they were depressed.
2 – Set realistic workloads and clear priorities
According to Robert Half, unrealistic expectations, heavy workloads, and upcoming deadlines routinely top the list of employee stressors. Managers often have control over all three stressors.
Sometimes, a simple workload shift can be an excellent workplace stress management tactic to help employees. Additional stress-reducing strategies include:
- Not asking for employees to work off-hours
- Setting clear priorities and manageable timelines
- Letting employees know they can voice concerns around workloads
With work email increasingly accessible on mobile devices, it can seem impossible for employees to get a break. To alleviate potential stress, both the employees and their managers need to set clear boundaries and expectations.
Managers also need to be trained to spot the signs of workplace stress, which can include decreased productivity, increased mistakes, and poor work quality. By supporting employees, managers can then get the best from them.
3 – Prioritize self-care for employees.
Whether your employees work in the office, remotely, or under a hybrid arrangement, you should assist them with making self-care a priority in their lives. People often think that self-care means checking into a beachside spa; however, self-care is about preserving one’s health.
Encourage your employees and provide them the time to engage in stress-alleviating activities. These could include walking, reading, listening to music, meditating, breathing, getting enough sleep, and shutting off electronics. Setting personal boundaries and saving money are also self-care measures that can reduce workplace stress.
4 – Encourage workplace wellness.
Implementing an employee wellness plan is one of the best ways for your company to achieve effective workplace stress management. By improving team members’ overall health, wellness programs can increase employee productivity. Healthy employees also take fewer sick days and lower healthcare costs for the company and themselves.
Wellness programs are composed of various programs that benefit employees who take advantage of them. Some popular programs include exercise, nutrition, weight loss, smoking cessation, stress reduction, and resilience.
In recent years, financial wellness programs have also become more popular. Financial woes often cause employee stress. Financial wellness programs like managing credit or learning how to reduce debt can be helpful. Offering nontraditional financial benefits like on-demand pay, which allows employees to access the wages they have already earned before the traditional two-week pay period, can also help reduce workplace stress issues.
Employee Stress Management
Workplace stress is a critical issue for companies to grapple with, especially as workers return from the pandemic. Fortunately, work stress can be managed and minimized. With focused policies and programs in place, employers can motivate employees to take ownership of their mental health care and create a healthier workplace for everyone.