When Employees Stress, You Make Less: How to Reduce Work-Related Stress
Giving your employees the tools to manage stress will save you money.
Even the best job can be a source of stress for employees. And when the pressure becomes overwhelming, your entire business pays the price. Thirty-six percent of workers suffer from work-related stress, which costs U.S. businesses $30 billion a year in lost workdays, according to a Harvard study.
Taking even a few small steps to manage stress around your workplace can pay dividends in productivity and retention. Here are four tips on how to reduce work-related stress for your employees and keep yourself healthy in the process.
Make Employees Feel Valued
You may not be able to let your employees work less, but you can make them feel better about their work. Long hours are more easily endured when people feel that their work matters and that they're striving toward a larger purpose. Whenever embarking on a complex project, or at the outset of any work-intensive period, take some time to set your team's sights on the bigger picture. If rousing speeches aren't your thing, even a short rallying email can go a long way.
And don't underestimate the power of positive feedback. Praising specific contributions from individual employees, either in public forums or private asides, will contribute to higher morale and lower stress among your workers.
Model a Healthy Work-Life Balance
It's easy to tell your employees that they're welcome to leave at 5 p.m. or that they can work from home when necessary, but if the boss never leaves the office before dark or is sending emails all day on Saturday, employees are unlikely to heed the advice. If you want your employees to take care of themselves, show them that you prioritize downtime in your own life. This will have the added benefit of reducing your own stress.
Experts note that most successful business owners, like employees, are also happy with the lives they've built outside work. And when you're are less stressed, you'll find it easier to be generous with your time and praise.
Offer the Best Benefits Package You Can
It's tempting to save money by skimping on your benefits packages. But employers who don't provide good benefits may find themselves with unhappy and disloyal employees. That doesn't mean you have to break the bank on benefits. Talk to your employees about what they need. This will help you better target your benefits offerings so you pay for what will make a difference and jettison the rest. When people are properly covered, they're more likely to treat ailments early, avoiding future absenteeism.
Offer On-the-Job Training
Training may not immediately jump to mind when discussing how to reduce work-related stress. But for employees to be happy in their work, they need to feel competent. Investing in the time and materials to make your workers better at what they do will ease their anxiety, as will showing them that their employer cares about their long-term value to the company.
Consider offering management training, too: Employees who see a clear and realistic path to advancement will spend less time worrying about their future, and best of all less time looking for a new job.