The Canadian HR Reporter recently reported that an equal number of Canadians surveyed (26%) say that work or their personal life are their top stressors, with top work stressors being the “volume of work (25 per cent), performance demands (14 per cent) and lack of support (12 per cent)”.
Additional stressors at work include long hours, job insecurity, and poor communication. Of course, while some of these stressors—such as the job market or economy—are outside a manager's or a company’s control, most can be alleviated by choices made by leadership.
If employees are stressed, they likely aren’t performing to the best of their abilities.
Along with decreased performance, there are other indicators of workplace stress: disinterest in work, signs of frustration or anger, withdrawal from workplace relationships, decreased productivity and creativity, and increased absenteeism.
Stress in the workplace can significantly impact a business’s growth and revenue. Not only are employees who experience chronic stress or burnout at work 6 times more likely to leave, but burnout is also costing your organization upwards of $190 billion annually. So, you can’t afford to ignore or downplay employee stressors at work.
Here are some recommendations from the Canadian HR Reporter on how to decrease stressors at work:
- Encourage employees to take breaks during the day
- Allow employees flexibility over their schedules, such as the ability to start late or leave early or attend to personal matters as needed during the work day
- Encourage open communication, allowing employees to come to you if they’re dealing with stressors at work
- Facilitate opportunities for employees to support each other, such as with team-building activities or happy hours
- Provide resources for employees to deal with stressors at work, such as recommendations for local counselors or a subscription to a meditation app
- Ensure your workplace is a safe space for all employees
Ultimately, employees will not feel relaxed at work if they don’t feel safe.
When we think of workplace safety, we often think of things like ensuring there’s a designated first-aid person and that everyone knows where the emergency exits are. However, workplace safety covers a lot more than that and a lack of proper workplace safety can be one of the major stressors at work.
According to the Government of Canada, it’s an employer’s responsibility to not only ensure that the workplace is safe, but to also “ensure that employees have the necessary information, training, and supervision to perform their jobs safely”. This also includes things like health and wellness, as well as mental health and labour policies.
Additionally, if employees feel like they aren’t able to talk about their stressors without repercussions or that they are being treated unfairly compared to their coworkers, this can create a hostile work environment.
Overall, employers should look for the signs that employees may be experiencing stressors at work, listen to their concerns, and work to eliminate them.