The effects of stress in the workplace can be costly. Executive Operations Manager, Ivan Lasater discusses the costs of workplace stress and how to improve productivity.
Workplace stress can be a real problem when it comes to the bottom line. The costs according to the American Institute of Stress are around $300 billion a year. This includes the costs incurred through health insurance and worker’s compensation, lost days of work, lost productivity while at work, employee assistance programs, and even law suits stemming from illness attributed to stress. The estimated $300 billion in costs aren’t coming out of the company’s pockets alone, they are actually passed on to the consumer and create poor economic conditions for the entire country to bear.
Identifying Common Workplace Stressors
There are a number of stressors in the workplace and identifying them is important. Identifying workplace stressors is the first step in addressing them. Here are some common examples.
Common workplace stressors:
· Boredom and monotonous work loads
· Feeling powerless over decision making
· Excessive hours and burn out
· Relationships in the workplace, both social and intimate
· Inequality such as racism or sexism
· Poor workplace conditions
· Accidents and injuries on the job
· Poor management
· No upward mobility
The physical and psychological effects of these common stressors can create problems for a business and the people who make it work. Fortunately, there are several ways in which these stressors can be addressed. Management must take a clear and effective role in addressing issues of workplace stress. It’s always in the company’s better interests to invest time and money into the health and wellbeing of their employees. It costs more money to hire and train new employees than it does to address the needs of the employees currently employed. Here are some steps that management and employees can take to address these issues.
Addressing workplace stressors:
· Relax stringent company policies to accommodate priority needs of employees
· Develop inclusive strategies for planning and work related goals
· Create open door policies
· Foster an employee friendly Human Resources Department
· Implement Employee Assistance Programs (EAP’s) for individuals to cope with stress and addiction, in and out of the workplace
· Evaluate and lighten the workloads if need be
· Offer incentives and rewards
· Give praise and recognition
· Make healthy options available in the workplace. (i.e.) exercise areas, healthy food, break areas with pleasant scenery and plenty of room
· Companywide monthly meetings and the freedom to air grievances
The symptoms of workplace stress can directly affect workplace productivity if not addressed and dealt with appropriately. Employees who experience stress are not always capable of dealing with it in a productive way, (For tips on a healthy balance visit Ivan's blog by clicking this link) and are often times powerless to change the conditions which create it. Management has a role and a responsibility to address the issues that affect productivity and morale in the workplace. Creating strategies to deal with workplace stress can boost the bottom line and enhance the morale of the workplace at the same time.