Dealing with Workplace Stress

May 26, 2015

According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), 40% of employees in the United States report that their job is “very or extremely stressful,” and 25% of all employees name their jobs as the number one stressor in their lives. Unfortunately, job stress can have a huge impact on your health. NIOSH reports that early warning signs of job stress include difficulty concentrating, headache, sleep disturbances, and upset stomach. When left unchecked, job stress can lead to cardiovascular disease, musculoskeletal disorders, psychological disorders, workplace injury, ulcers, impaired immune function, cancer, and even suicide.

As an employer knowing these startling facts, you are likely wondering what to do to curb workplace stress within your own organization. The first step would be to figure out exactly what you are dealing with. A good start is to design an employee survey and/or hold employee focus groups to obtain data on your employees’ perceptions regarding working conditions, their level of stress, their health, and their overall job satisfaction. You may also want to have your Office of Human Resources provide you with data on your company’s turnover rates, as well as the rates of employee absenteeism and illness. This information should give you some idea of where you stand, and what specific needs your employees have that need to be addressed.

In general, you as an employer can implement regulations that will help your employees achieve better work/life balance. Some examples of this would be flexible work schedules and the ability to work from home. You could also launch a plan that encourages employees to get away from their desks and exercise, such as forming a lunchtime walking group. Another idea is to get rid of that office candy vending machine and replace it with one offering healthy snack alternatives.