Work is stressful. No matter what job you're in, this will almost certainly be true. The pressure faced by a chief executive might differ from that of a customer assistant at a fast food restaurant, but it will still be felt strongly by both parties. It has become an inescapable aspect of modern life, and one that employers need to take action against.
At the end of the day, stressed workers are not nearly as efficient at their jobs as happy ones. While some people thrive under mild pressure, most will find they are only able to keep this up for a short amount of time before caving. While your employees are worried and overwhelmed, their work will usually end up suffering.
They are also a lot more likely to end up taking sick days. Stress can lead to all sorts of mild ailments, from migraines to heartburn, many of which can lead to employees being too ill to work. Of course, there will always be a few who are capable of doing their job but just don't feel up to it because of how overwhelmed they are.
Octavius Black, chief executive of Mind Gym wrote in the Telegraph yesterday (September 9th): "The business environment offers little chance of a let-up. The clamour to achieve more with less is only increasing and with a smartphone always within reach, returning from a break can be more stressful than not taking one in the first place."
So what can be done? One option is to spend some money on employee wellbeing. Nobody likes to throw money away, particularly at something that does not seem like it will have an immediate effect on the company's bottom line, but investing in this is the best thing for a business in the long term.
You should aim to make space in your office for employee relaxation. Some businesses choose to install a gym or similar facility to help employees burn off their stressful energy. Others provide workers with recreational activities like table tennis or pool, or relaxation areas.
This means getting rid of a portion of your office, which might seem counterintuitive at first. However, it can easily be used to promote the same agenda of helping employees deal with stress. You can also show your commitment to improving worker wellbeing by investing in out-of-office training for your staff.
This can be seen as a way of gaining extra space in your workplace,as you can convert the room you previously used for training, but it is also an excellent way to convince employees they are valued. Out-of-office training will often seem more professional and high-quality than what you can provide in your office.
This will help employees to feel more fulfilled, convincing them that you are interested in developing their skills. If they feel appreciated, they are likely to find their job less stressful.