Managing Employee Stress
Stress is a physical, mental and emotional wear and tear and is emerging as a leading health risk of the 21st century and as a serious hazard in the workplace. Disabling stress has doubled over the past six years with a large number of people absent from work every day due to stress-related problems.
Employee stress can take many forms and significantly impact on both individuals and organizations. It can manifest as anxiety, aggression, irritability, dependency, withdrawal or depression. Regardless of the form it takes, stress causes reduced productivity, absenteeism, employee burnout, turnover, increased medical expenses and health insurance costs, and stress related compensation claims. Furthermore, 75 percent to 80 percent of workplace accidents are stress-related.
Helping employees learn to cope with personal stress, to balance their home and work lives, and to build stress resistance can benefit everyone. Several suggestions companies can do to help employees deal with stress:
1. Offer training programs that teach stress management techniques, relaxation, time management, positive thinking and assertiveness.
2. Institute flexible work schedule or telecommuting options if possible.
3. Be flexible, within reason, in allowing employees to take time away from work to deal with personal and family issues. Unresolved personal, health and family problems are a considerable source of stress.
4. Consider providing a relaxation space in your workplace.
5. Be aware of yourself as a role model. Try to demonstrate good coping and stress reduction behaviors.
6. Encourage and support employee self-care by promoting a healthy lifestyle and a support systems.
Stress is a part of life. The keys are in seeking solutions that target the sources of workplace stress, and teaching people to cope with those personal and professional stressors that are inevitable. Offer your employees a variety of stress prevention and management techniques. Doing so will benefit your employees and your organization.
Dr. Juliet Dinkha is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist, and an Associate Professor at the American University of Kuwait. If you have any questions or comments for Dr. Dinkha, feel free to contact her via Instagram or email.