How to Minimize Employee Job Stress

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Stress in the workplace can pose a significant threat to the health of a company's employees and business in general. In fact, studies show that 75 percent of all employees believe that job stress has increased in recent years, and 25 percent of employees consider their jobs to be the most stressful aspect of their lives. Stress resulting from problems at work is at fault for more health problems than any other stressor, including family issues and financial concerns.

By definition, job stress is the emotional and physical response that occurs when an individual's job requirements do not match his or her needs, resources, or capabilities. When an employee experiences ongoing job stress, he may develop injuries or health problems. According to studies, the most common cause of job stress is an overly demanding work environment.

When employees are exhibiting signs of stress, the first step in resolving the problem is to determine the nature of the stressor.

Your employees may benefit from shorter shifts or more rest breaks. If workers are unhappy with the company's management style or the lack of interpersonal relationships, they may benefit from more participation in the company's decisions, more support from supervisors, and a better social environment. When uncertain job expectations are the cause of stress, the solution often involves clarification of employee job descriptions. If employees are stressed because of job insecurity, business owners can make efforts to be open with employees about their future with the company. Finally, if employee stress results from a hazardous or an uncomfortable work environment, business owners should try to address employee concerns and make improvements when necessary.

In some cases, an employee who wasn't previously experiencing job stress may become stressed because of a change in the circumstances of his or her personal life, such as a family member's chronic illness or the birth of a new child. In such instances, the increase in stress from home can cause the employee to feel uneasy about meeting expectations at work. To cope with this type of job stress, employers should make an effort to accommodate the employee's needs whenever possible. In many cases, these changes are only temporary. However, if ignored, external stressors may elevate job stress to an unhealthy level.

Employer Steps

In the short term, employee morale can be enhanced by programs promoting regular breaks for stretching and exercise throughout the workday. Instituting an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) so that employees can receive confidential assistance with emotional, legal, and financial issues can also help to boost employee morale and productivity, as these issues cause emotional stress that can lead to absenteeism and presenteeism.

Promoting a Culture of Wellness

As employers compete to recruit and retain qualified employees, wellness programs present an opportunity to communicate a message of commitment to the well-being of employees. Promoting emotional health may improve the productivity of employees on the job and enrich their personal lives. Contact us to learn more on how a culture of wellness can improve morale by creating a safe and supportive work environment.