Stress in the workplace takes a serious toll on workers. As a manager, you want to mitigate unnecessary stress your workers feel so that employee productivity doesn’t fall. What can you do to increase job satisfaction and reduce stress in the workplace? FindMojo has some ideas.
Sources of Workplace Stress
The main sources of workplace worry, stress and anxiety can vary based on industry and job title, but there are some universally accepted workplace stressors. If left unaddressed, these can impact employee engagement, performance and loyalty.
1. Toxic manager
One of the worst stressors at work is having to deal with a bullying, gossiping, name-calling, belittling manager. You probably know the type—someone who likes to blame others for their own mistakes, takes credit for ideas that aren’t theirs, or micromanages everyone’s tasks. These types of managers sap employee motivation. Although some managers think a tough approach improves employee productivity, the opposite is more often true.
While you may think the best solution for a toxic manager might be to fire them or move them away from a leadership role (and you may be right) there are reason you hired this person in the first place. They must have some skills that you need. Instead of sending them packing without a second chance, smart leaders are using coaching to teach them to manage with more empathy and consideration so they can better foster stronger employee engagement.
It’s smart to set a time limit. A manager who doesn’t improve is a killer of motivation in the workplace.
2. Too Much Work, Too Many Hours
For years, Americans have been struggling to achieve a better work-life balance. Post-World War II, the American economy was booming and our social norms prized hard work and long hours. With the invention of the internet and cell phones, employees found they could no longer get away from the office: their boss could call at any time, no matter where they were. Feeling like you are never off the clock has been correlated with significantly higher levels of stress and burnout.
One of the reasons some companies make it a rule that you can’t carry over vacation and personal days is to force employees to take them. These organizations know that rest and rejuvenation are important.
As a manager, if you find your employees are frequently working long hours and engagement is waning, address the situation. If possible, hire more employees, redistribue the workload or offering extras to compensate for the added work. If you can’t, then find ways to help people shut off in the evenings and on weekends by requiring no emails. You can’t continually overwork anyone without consequences.
3. Uninspiring Work
Unfortunately, work is not always as exciting as we wish. But if some of your employees’ jobs are boring with nothing interesting to provide intellectual stimulation, that can lead to stress and lack of engagement. If you find you are continually losing employees because of the nature of the work they are doing, you can and should take action.
Can you spread mundane tasks around so a few people don’t have to carry the entire load? Can you give employees who have to do boring jobs some more rewarding tasks to boost their job satisfaction? If people truly have little to do — manning a client station that doesn’t get a lot of calls, for example — consider teaching them to do more important tasks in their downtime.
Whether it comes from managers, co-workers or customers, harassment in the workplace is a major source of stress. Harassment may come for any reason, but some common forms are sexual harassment or harassment related to LGBTQ issues, race, nationality, accent, religion, dress, or disability.
All these types of harassment are against the law, and anyone who perpetrates harassment for those reasons can — and should — be terminated and can be prosecuted.
Sometimes harassment is middle-school-variety meanness. When an employee comes to you to report that another employee has belittled, taunted, excluded, intimidated, bullied, told lies about them or in any way made them uncomfortable, take it seriously and address it. It’s not only the right thing to do, but it can also help discourage lawsuits against your company.
The Dangers of Stress in the Workplace
We have talked about how stress in the workplace affects employee productivity, job satisfaction and employee motivation. The affects of stress can be even more serious. Stress in the workplace can lead to depression, anxiety, substance abuse, insomnia, weight gain, heart problems, headaches, gastrointestinal disorders and other medical issues. These can also lead to lost work days and insurance claims.
Nip workplace stress in the bud by understanding how your employees are feeling. The right employee engagement assessment can help you understand stress levels before they start taking a major toll on your employee health.
What Employers Should Do to Reduce Workplace Stress
While personal responsibility is important, as an employer, you have a stake in employee satisfaction and mental wellbeing.
The best way to find out how your employees feel about their jobs is by using an employee motivation assessment from FindMojo™. Our employee engagement tests are not the simple kind you find online. We spent 10 years developing the most comprehensive, scientifically valid employee motivation assessment ever created. The results show you exactly what you need to do to promote job satisfaction and talent retention.
The most successful companies invest in their employees rather than treating them as if they are disposable. Contact FindMojo today to order your employee motivation tests, and learn how to gain a better understanding of workplace motivation and how to better manage your employees.