In April 2014, Monster.com published the results of a survey they conducted of approximately 7,000 U.S. employees. They found that 35% had debated leaving a job due to a stressful work environment, and another 42% had chosen to leave a position due to workplace stress. More distressing, approximately half of those surveyed reported having missed work due to office stress, 61% said work stress has made them physically ill, and 7% said they had to be hospitalized as a result of work-related stress.
In today’s workplace, we are all being asked to “do more with less.” However, no employer wants to see their employees become physically ill due to the resulting pressure that comes along with this. As a Human Resources professional, you have the power to encourage wellness in the workplace. The first step towards this is making sure your employees are aware of the physical signs and symptoms of stress. These include:
- Feelings of anxiety, irritability, depression, or apathy
- Sleep issues/fatigue/difficulty concentrating
- Loss of sex drive
- Muscle tension/headaches
- Increased/excessive use of alcohol or drugs
Next, make sure your employees know that your company supports their self-care. You can do this by:
Buy your employees pedometers and start a lunchtime walking group, or work with a local gym to give your employees discounts on membership.
Let your supervisors know how important it is for their employees to take a lunch break away from their desks. Provide healthy food and beverage choices in your kitchen’s vending machines.
Offering smoking cessation courses and resources for employees who are concerned about drug and alcohol dependence.
Finally, you can help your employees with their organization and time management skills by offering brown-bag lunch sessions featuring tips on how to prioritize tasks, plan out a balanced schedule for the workday, manage long-term projects, and more.