Five reasons your employees are showing signs of stress

Workplace stress can be a real barrier to productivity and employee satisfaction. This, in turn, can lead to high attrition rates and can impact the bottom line. It is important to recognise the contributing factors of workplace stress and take steps to reduce stress among employees, wherever possible. Here are our top five tips for recognising the factors that contribute to workplace stress.

1. Poor communication

Good communication is an essential tool in achieving productivity and maintaining strong working relationships at all levels of an organisation. Employers who invest time and energy into delivering clear lines of communication will rapidly build trust among employees, leading to increases in productivity, output and morale in general. Meanwhile, employees who communicate effectively with colleagues, managers and customers are always valuable assets to an organisation - it is a skill which can often set people apart from their competition.

Meanwhile, poor communication in the workplace will inevitably lead to unmotivated staff that may begin to question their own confidence in their abilities and inevitably the organisation.

2. Over or under management

Effective management can be a fine line. Over manage people and they can be left feeling undervalued or not trusted to do their work. Under manage them and they may feel a lack of direction or support in what they do. It is important to strike a balance but also to realise that everyone has a different style of working. Some may like to be left to get on with their work while others will need constant support and guidance. The trick is knowing who responds well to what style.

3. Overworked

It’s important to keep on top of the workload of everyone in your team. It is common for more junior, or newer members of the team, to have managerial oversight on workload and this is where you might expect that overloading might take place. In reality, it is just as likely to occur among your top performers. The most talented people in the team are more likely to be asked for help and assistance and can rapidly find themselves involved in multiple projects outside their remit. 

Being overworked, and having to stretch your time and effort thin is a very common cause of workplace stress and can lead to even the best performers becoming overwhelmed. Pay close attention to the workload of employees across the team and endeavour to spread the workload evenly, even in your busiest periods.

4. Lack of support

Being overworked is bad enough when you are capable of doing the tasks asked of you without assistance. Even those who are able to work autonomously can get overworked and overwhelmed. Where this is an even bigger issue is among employees who do require support from colleagues and management to successfully carry out their tasks. If left alone, without the support they need, the signs of stress can become apparent very quickly.

It is vitally important that all employees feel empowered to, and have the appropriate channels available to them, to ask for help. There should be no judgement and a system in place whereby the necessary support is available. The reality is that you can’t afford to have overworked, under-supported, or stressed employees in your team. It’s not good for the individual, for the team or for the organisation as a whole.

5. Work-life balance

Being overworked and under-supported can lead to further issues. Many dedicated employees are forced to put in hours at home in the evenings and on the weekends just to keep up. Not having the time to manage their workload during office hours can lead to crucial personal time being eaten into. This can significantly reduce the time left over to spend with family and friends or to relax and recoup. Even if it is as simple as picking up a few emails on a Sunday evening or taking calls when out on a Saturday afternoon, it all contributes to the feeling that work is eating into one’s personal life. This can further exacerbate stress and should be avoided where possible.

For more employer advice, take a look at the other articles in our employer centre.

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