A company full of stressed-out employees is a company likely heading for trouble. Employee stress can affect productivity, retention, and workplace climate, which all affect the bottom line. “Sixty percent of workers say work-related pressure has increased in the last five years, wrote Nick Otto for Employee Benefit News, citing research from Accountemps. “Millennials top this super-stressed heap: 64 percent say they’re overwhelmed at work compared with 59 percent of professionals age 35 to 54 and only 35 percent of workers ages 55 and older.”
The sources of that stress, according to Otto:
- Heavy workload/looming deadlines (33 percent)
- Unrealistic expectations of managers (22 percent)
- Attaining work-life balance (22 percent)
- Coworker conflict (15 percent)
How can your clients alleviate the pressure? Here are four suggestions:
Offer Stress-Management Programs
“Managers need to keep an eye out for the signs of increased stress levels [and] talk to employees to pinpoint triggers and implement stress-relieving solutions,” Otto wrote.
They should encourage employees to take part in stress-management webinars, wellness programs, and yoga or meditation classes, all of which could be add-on wellness benefits the employer offers.
Tackle Toxic Culture
“A toxic culture can disrupt business by creating low engagement and high turnover, and ultimately damage your company’s reputation,” wrote Steffen Maier for Employee Benefit News. “Even if a company is not suffering from the effects of a negative work environment, creating a strong purpose and values from the beginning helps to institutionalize the right kinds of behaviors.”
Mapping out these important cultural guideposts — a mission statement, shared values and a purpose — can help you connect employees in a way that motivates and satisfies them.
Offer Benefits to Part-Time Employees
In a gig economy, chances are your clients have more part-time workers than ever. By offering them the same benefits as full-time employees, they can give their workforces a boost, wrote Sheryl Smolkin for Employee Benefit News.
“Offering full-time benefits to part-time workers will build employee loyalty, boost (attendance), and stem the tide of job hopping among their workforce,” she wrote. “And it’s not just part-timers asking for the benefits: full-time workers who want to shift to part-time work also are asking for the benefit coverage in order to achieve a positive work-life balance.”
Allow Employees Flexibility and Control
A University of Minnesota sociologist studied how a Results Only Work Environment (ROWE) could affect feelings of workplace stress, wrote Carolyn Gregoire for the Huffington Post, and learned that the approach gives employees more flexibility about how they chose to do their work.
“After six months, the employees who participated in ROWE reported reduced work-family conflict and a better sense of control of their time, and they were getting a full hour of extra sleep each night,” Gregoire wrote. “The employees were less likely to leave their jobs, resulting in reduced turnover.”
Control is key, she wrote: “Research shows that people thrive in their jobs and become more fully engaged when they are given autonomy.”