Employees stress – causes, business costs and what to do to prevent it

Your employees are your most valuable resource and your company’s greatest asset. As a leader or business manager, their well being must be one of your top interests.

Stressed employees means high costs for your business

High levels of workplace-related stress affects your employees’ well being. And having stressed employees is also taking a toll on your business.

Here are the costs on your business:

  • Decline in productivity and performance;
  • Decline in employee health;
  • High employee turnover rates;
  • Frequent absenteeism;
  • Legal costs;
  • Increased training and recruitment costs;
  • Low morale.

Research shows that 60 percent of workers suffer from work-related stress that costs U.S. businesses $30 billion a year in lost workdays.

Are your employees stressed? If your answer is No, how do you know they’re not stressed? Asking them if they’re stressed is not a reliable option because they may not tell you the truth in fear of being fired.

Are your employees stressed? Find out!

Ask yourself these 6 questions to find out if your employees might be stressed and they’re not telling you:

  1. Are your team members constantly missing lunch to get work done?
  2. Does your staff often take work home after hours?
  3. Is their work often rushed? Have they made many mistakes lately?
  4. Do they seem overly emotional, edgy or irritable?
  5. Notice anyone's attention levels fading during meetings?
  6. Has anyone’s physical appearance changed for the worst?

Employee stress - top 3 causes

how-to-keep-your-employees-stress-free

image source: relaxlikaboss.com

Here are the top 3 causes for employee stress:

  • Bad managers

Have you heard the saying Employees leave bosses, not companies?

Well, it’s true.

What is a bad boss?

Here are 4 kinds of bad managers according to Brigitte Hyacinth, author of The Future of Leadership: Rise of Automation, Robotics and Artificial Intelligence:

  1. Marionette or Yes man

The Yes men are the managers that play safe to preserve their position and privileges by following orders. They never stand up for their team or question policies.

  1. King Kong

The King Kongs of the business world are the managers that quickly forget where they came from once they reached to the top. How can you recognise them? They talk down to their employees and feel superior to them.

  1. Superman

This kind of managers is the solo-flyer: they make decisions all by themselves, disregarding the input of their team and taking the credit. Even Superman fought alongside his Justice League super-hero colleagues.

  1. Taskmaster

This breed of managers takes micromanaging to the highest level: they suffocate and demoralise their employees, killing all creativity.

  • Heavy workloads

Workload is the second cause of stress for employees.

If your employees need to do overtime or take their work home, than they may be struggling with heavy workloads and you may soon face employee burnout.

You can prevent your employees from being overworked by using project management tools. These tools help you control the workload of each employee and avoid burnout:

Stop losing money with these 3 project management tools.

  • Long working hours

Employees who work more than 40 hours a week are under the impression they are getting more done.

They are wrong.

In fact, research has shown that working overtime leads to:

  • Reduced productivity;
  • Increased fatigue;
  • Higher safety risks;
  • Neglected social and family life;
  • More stress;
  • Increased risks of heart disease.

How to keep your employees stress-free

Here are 6 recommendations to prevent employee stress:

  1. Offer a flexible work environment: 

Flexible work environment doesn't refer only to working from home instead of your office.

Here are 4 flexible work strategies, and some of the companies that employ them:

  • unlimited vacation: LinkedIn, Evernote

Unlimited vacation means your employees can take vacation time whenever they need it. This strategy can fit well in an organization that operates on mutual respect and trust.

  • results-only: MindTools

The results-only concept means that team members are measured by performance, results, or output rather than physical presence in an office or number of hours worked.

  • remote-work: Sqwiggle

The ability to work remotely is the perfect fit for organisations that employ young parents. Parents can opt to stay at home to co-participate in household and childcare obligations.

  • job-sharing: Qualcomm

Job-sharing means two professionals forming a partnership to perform one job. This work strategy is one of the most common ways for specialised professionals to create the time needed to care for their personal needs in addition to performing excellent work.

  1. Nurture a company culture focused on open communication

Kit Pang, Communication Expert and founder of BostonSpeaks states that communication is the key to building a positive company culture.

To achieve open communication, he recommends giving the employees the power to speak up. Companies should engage in two-way conversations at all levels, giving the employees the ability to point out a problem or present an idea and be heard.

  1. Nurture and support the growth of good leaders

As research has found, leaders are made, not born. The secret is to teach employees how to shift from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset.

Employees with a growth mindset drive innovation and support the company's struggle to overcome industry changes.

Managers with a growth mindset inspire their employees to seek constant improvement and developing of skills.

Find out how to change your mindset: Do you have a growth mindset?