For many people, the demands of their jobs are among the leading causes of stress in their lives. Work-related stress creates a sort of feedback loop. Stressed-out employees become less productive, which produces more stress, which in turn affects productivity.
The more stressed employees are, the less invested and engaged they are in their work. That can lead to higher rates of turnover and decreased job satisfaction.
Why Are Stress Levels so High?
A recent poll from Gallup found that while nearly three-quarters of employees were “completely satisfied” with safety conditions at work, less than one-third were completely satisfied with the levels of work-related stress they experienced. The percentage of people saying they were satisfied with their stress levels was lower than in the previous two years.
Workplace stress might be high for several reasons. People can be overworked and spending too much time on the job. Even if they are away from their desk outside the workday, they might feel that they need to constantly check their email or check in on messaging services such as Slack.
Some employees become stressed because they don’t earn enough. They might work full-time but struggle to make ends meet financially. In some cases, the feeling that their job is going nowhere or that there’s no opportunity for advancement can contribute to increased stress levels.
How Employee Stress Impacts Your Business
When your team members are constantly stressed, your company can feel the effects in several ways. Stressed-out employees aren’t likely to do their best work. They might develop the mindset of “just get it done,” and might turn in projects that are lower quality than desired. Similarly, their productivity can dip. It might take them longer to work on a project, meaning they miss deadlines. That can lead to dissatisfied clients and customers.
Depending on how severe the stress is, an employee might decide to leave the company or need to take time away. Replacing an employee, especially a mid- or upper-level employee is often very expensive for businesses. It costs both time and money to find a suitable replacement. When one employee leaves, it can also trigger a domino effect, encouraging others to leave the company, too. An uptick in the turnover rate adversely affects morale, creating a cycle of stress and dissatisfaction.
What You Can Do to Help Employees Manage Stress
Fortunately, there are several things you can do as an employer to help reduce employee stress levels and improve job satisfaction. One option is to increase people’s pay, if your company can afford to do so and if employees are paid below-market rates. Bringing employee salaries in line with market rates can help them feel appreciated and can reduce any stress related to their finances.
Not every company can afford to give across-the-board raises. If that’s the case, another option is to offer a bonus to employees or to find ways to increase their benefits. Offering a more affordable healthcare plan or increasing the employer retirement match can help people feel supported and can reduce their stress levels.
If your team is stressed out because there seems to be little opportunity for job growth and development, one way to ease their stress is to provide opportunities for growth. You can cross-train employees so that they can perform multiple job functions. Or, you can offer continuing education and development programs to help them keep their skills current or learn new skills.
Regular check-ins with your team members can help you identify an increase in stress levels and can help you get to the bottom of the issue. It could be that an employee is finding a new project particularly challenging. They might feel unsupported during it. Meeting with your employees quarterly or monthly can help you work together to solve any issues that might come up. The check-ins also help employees feel more supported, which can in turn reduce their stress levels.
The less stressed your team members are, the more invested they’ll be in the workplace. That’s good news for your company’s growth and future. If you’d like more insight about how to grow your company, the virtual CFOs at New Direction Capital can help. To learn more, contact us today.