Work today isn't what it used to be. With the advent of email and remote access to company systems, employees have the opportunity to be "on" all the time, and that can easily lead to a poor work-life balance. But as much as Americans might be missing their downtime, if there's one thing that's hurting the bulk of employees today, it's stress.
An estimated 64% of U.S. adults feel stressed at work, according to healthcare software provider Welltok, and the problem is worse among women and middle-aged workers. And while millennials are perhaps less likely to experience stress on the job, over 50% say they've seriously considered jumping ship because of it.
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The worst part? Only 33% of workers say their employers make stress-management programs available to them. If you want to avoid losing key talent at your place of work or seeing employee performance decline, you'd be wise to consider offering up stress-management resources to your team. And the sooner you do, the better.
Helping employees cope with stress
It's natural for stress to be a part of workplace life, but when it reaches the point where it impacts your employees' health, their productivity is bound to suffer. Too much stress might also prompt some of your more valued players to look for work elsewhere -- perhaps at a company that takes workers' well-being into account.
To avoid that fate, take steps to help your employees manage their stress or avoid it in the first place. To start, encourage managers to set clear goals and reasonable deadlines. Often, workplace stress emanates from feeling ill-equipped to tackle assignments or the fear that they won't get done on time.
Next, consider offering your employees more flexibility on the job. That could mean working from home to avoid distractions that impede productivity and cause employees to get stressed as a result. Or it could mean letting employees work the hours they choose so that if they opt to burn the midnight oil to complete key projects, they can take it easy the following week and recover.
Additionally, look into on-site wellness programs that include stress relief. That could mean giving workers access to fitness classes or equipment, holding nutrition seminars, or even treating your staff to massages on the house.
Finally, encourage workers to take breaks, both during the day and in general. Make it clear that stepping out for lunch is more than acceptable, and be generous with your time-off policy. Furthermore, reassure workers that using their vacation time won't hurt their careers or lower their chances of getting promoted. Giving your workers a chance to regularly decompress is a good way to reduce their stress load and improve their outlooks.
It's pretty much impossible to never get stressed at work, but if it's happening to your employees all the time, it could spell trouble for your business. So don't let that happen. Instead, get ahead of the problem -- if anything, it'll take some stress off of your plate, too.
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