Americans are dying for a paycheck. Not just figuratively, either. They are literally working themselves to death. And, in the process, they're slowly strangling productivity and profits.
According to the Mayo Clinic, stress leads to a long list of physical and emotional issues --headaches, fatigue, sleep problems, anxiety, and feelings of being overwhelmed. None of which are good for your employees or your bottom line.
And guess what has Americans stressed out these days. That's right: Work.
What Can Be Done About Workplace Stress?
Actually, the American Psychological Association says that concerns about the future comes in first, money comes in second, and work comes in third. But all three have at least 60 percent of the country's population stressed out--and without a good-paying, steady job, a person's future isn't all that bright.
So the stress is all about work, which isn't good for managers, because if employees are all stressed out, they're probably not performing at peak levels and your profits just might plummet.
More importantly, stress kills. Maybe not immediately, but a recent article in Psychology Today points out that, over time, stress can take a toll on an employee's heart and immune system. As you know, people need both in order to stay healthy and productive.
This is why everyone has a stake in eliminating stress on the job -- but you can't count on your employees to do it themselves. According to the American Institute of Stress, 80 percent of employees feel stress on the job but only about half know how to manage it.
Here's a five-step plan to help you help your employees reduce job-related stress:
Set clear goals
Remember, uncertainty about the future is the top stressor in the United States. That's the bad news.
The good news is that one way to eliminate uncertainty is to set clear (or clearer) goals for your employees. Setting clear goals helps employees focus their energy on the things that matter most rather than on wondering if their work is worthwhile, appreciated, or even the right work to be doing in the first place.
They'll be less stressed because they'll know with precision what is expected of them, how they are being evaluated, and what they are supposed to be doing.
Acknowledge, appreciate, and celebrate
Everyone wants to know that they play an important role in their organization. It adds meaning to the work, makes it more than simply something to do in search of a paycheck. It gives employees peace of mind, especially when rumors of tough financial times start to spread.
Also, it just adds to the overall happiness of the office.
So make a concentrated effort to acknowledge the important role people play in your organization. Take the time to appreciate extra effort. Certainly do everything you can to celebrate your employees' achievements.
Make mindfulness a priority
Mindfulness isn't just another business buzz word. It's actually a powerful practice that can help you and your employees manage the stress that comes with the day-to-day duties of a job.
It means "living in the moment," which includes calmly and acknowledging and accepting your feelings, thoughts, and, yes, stressors.
Helping your employees practice mindfulness at work is a great way to reduce stress, keep everyone focused on what really matters, and increase productivity. It's about taking some time to breathe and focus on the surroundings whenever things get overwhelming.
And it works.
According to a study conducted by researchers at UCLA, mindfulness can significantly reduce stress and improve resilience.
Integrate exercise into the office
No, you don't necessarily need to set up a Bowflex, but it might be a good idea to encourage employees to get up and move a little throughout the day.
Everyone knows that sitting in one spot all day staring at a computer screen is bad for an employee's physical health. But what not everyone knows it that it can also take a serious toll on a person's mental health.
The cure? Why a little exercise, of course.
According to a study conducted by the Psychology and Speech Pathology School at Australia's Curtin University, something as simple as a walk over the lunch hour can reduce stress among employees.
That's a relatively easy fix to a really serious problem.
Empower your employees by making stress reduction a priority
Workplace stress can cause many problems for your employees and organization. It can affect your overall company culture. It can cost your productivity. And it can make your employees sick.
That's why it's important to make stress reduction a priority by investing in training. Employees will learn important de-stressing techniques, and your organization will be a healthier, happier place to work.
Start de-stressing today
Ready to learn more about trainings that can reduce stress among your team members? Connect with Infotec today for more information on our Dale Carnegie classes about stress management and productivity.