Countless studies have shown that excess stress can cause real physical symptoms like increased blood pressure, chest pain, tiredness, and more. Stress can also lead to an increase in anxiety and depression. 43% of all adults suffer adverse health effects from stress. The human body is designed to experience stress and react to it. Stress can be positive (eustress), such as getting a job promotion or being given more responsibilities at work. Positive stress is necessary for individuals to make breakthroughs and for companies to grow. Stress can also be negative (distress) and cause a person to face continuous challenges without relief or relaxation. Resulting in the person becoming overworked.
US-based OSHA (The Occupational Safety and Health Administration) deemed stress a “hazard of the workplace.”A company has a duty to take care of its workers and their environment. If a worker is struggling with stress, this will not only have an impact on the individual. But also, to the efficiency and productivity of the business. Here are 5 steps to help prevent workplace stress and keep an efficient and happy workforce.
1. Raise Awareness
The most imperative thing to communicate to workers is that psychosocial risks in the workplace are just as important as physical hazards. Psychosocial risk, like stress, should be approached with the solution of prevention. Stress can be as bad for the individual as for the organization. Organizations need to work together to address the risks and warning signs of stress.
2. Assess Risks
An organization should approach identifying stress contributors as a risk assessment for workplace hazards. Adapting a mental health risk assessment that would help to look for the causes of psychosocial stress is a good place to start. Observing work in progress and asking workers to describe how they feel about their tasks is a good way to gather information for an assessment.
3. Take Preventive Action
Assessing any stress-related risk can help to understand and improve how work is managed in an organization. To then evaluate how things are approached if a red flag is shown. Preventive action will address issues like lack of personal control, conflictual relationship, and inadequate support. Forming a positive relationship with employees will help to form open communication and trust. This will enable workers to be more prone to opening up if they are struggling.
4. Take Action
Once a company has seen how the workload has changed and how it has affected employee behavior and work. Action must be taken to address these issues. For instance, workers may find their training out of date for the changing nature of work. This could be solved by workers being involved in decision-making. Not having a say in decisions may have been a significant source of stress. A small change can relieve stress from multiple employees. The company can also help workers to find information and support, even if the source of stress is not from the workplace.
5. Build support and resilience
It is important to keep continuously working on strengthening employees’ health and wellbeing. To help employees have the best supplies to face challenges more successfully, organizations can contribute to workers’ physical and emotional wellbeing. By encouraging healthy eating, regular exercise, taking breaks, and relaxation. Goal setting, time management, and positive thinking resources could be given to help workers build resilience when faced with pressure. Educating the workforce on the availability of support programmes confidentially and respectfully will help employers feel safe to address personal challenges before they become overwhelming.
Prioritizing mental health and promoting a healthy work-life balance, will reduce the stigma attached to mental health issues. Stress can become overwhelming, especially in a workplace environment if an employee feels unsupported. Organizations can also work on implementing mental health training days to find solutions to help deal with stress. Assessing and taking action to create a safe environment for workers to feel heard and in control, can help reduce stress significantly.
Smart employers are placing workplace wellness at the core of their business. By recognizing the importance of their employees. Placing health and wellbeing at the heart of the business can help employers improve productivity as well as the happiness of employees.