BY: Janine Mitchell
Change consultant / Work performance
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How does stress impact on staff? Your wonderful workforce by the way is incidentally your one biggest asset. As most of us know, its the nuts and bolts of what drives your business to success! Your biggest asset isn’t the latest marketing strategy, or a highly visible presence on social media, or a big glitzy advertising campaign. Its your employees. The driving force of any business, plain and simple.
So how does stress negatively impact on staff and then inadvertently on business and productivity?
A survey was conducted in 2012 by ComPsych (www.compsych.com) in which they surveyed 2500 employees. Its main findings were that stressors like workload, people issues, lack of work/life balance and job insecurity are likely to cause reduced levels of productivity at work. Yes people, poor productively in your business!
The World Health Organisation calls stress “the health epidemic of the 21st century.
There has been a wealth of studies conducted that have researched what factors affect work performance, including how this is impacted by stress levels and how valued staff feel in the workplace.
A study was conducted by the University of Bahrain which is published in the Business and Management Research Journal. This is titled ‘How stress can affect your work performance’. This research paper was conducted by Dr. Muwafaq Alkubaisi (2105) One of main findings of the study was that work stress has a negative impact on employee’s performance.
This is one of a plethora of studies, which show similar findings.
The long term thing is this. Stressed out employees are negatively impacting on business growth. Sapping away the longevity of the success of the business which then leads to financial constraints and many other related problems.
The ComPsych survey as referred to above reportedly established the five main reasons why stressed out employees are killing off your economic growth –
Nearly 15% of respondents surveyed said that stress causes them to miss days from work. You may think they just have a bad immune system, but the truth is that at least some of the time, employees are having to stay off work out of necessity.
Missed deadlines and mistakes.
Over 20% of the surveyed employees directly attributed stress to missed deadlines and mistakes in their work. Not only is work taking longer to get done on the first pass, but mistakes are causing additional slowdowns.
Lack of focus.
It’s hard enough for some workers to focus in an office environment; add in extreme levels of stress, and you have a perfect recipe for distraction. Over 56% of participants reported that they had trouble focusing due to stress. When this manifests in your office, employees may look like they’re working, but it’ll take longer for them to complete tasks than usual.
That once-bright employee who is suddenly 15 to 45 minutes late several times a week? This is directly linked to burnout. Over 14% of employees said that job-related stress increased their lateness.
Over 15% of participants said that stress within the job made it difficult for them to connect or get along with superiors and coworkers.
So take some time out now to consider how you are looking after your employees. Or how you feel yourself as an employee within your organisation. Do you feel valued? Do trip into work with a sense of motivation and pride? Do you notice a positive energy within your team, or is it constantly full of doom and gloom? Do you feel a real sense of worth? Are you able to approach your manager with ease if you have any work or personal problems you need to share?
CEO’s/ HR people/ Managers – what to do? Get down to staff level. Are your staff satisfied in their job role? Do they feel listened to and heard? Are they on burn out much of the time? Is there regular moaning and complaining going about the office? Are your staff away from work with regular sickness? Are staff able to talk about any work or personal issues to their direct line manager? No really, are they? What is the culture of staff and the way they work, is it in the dark ages? Are staff constantly putting in extra hours to catch up?
These are just some simple things to think about.
One absolutely amazing organisation to check out if you don’t know of it already is UKFast, a web hosting and cloud company, based in Manchester in the UK run by the amazing and award winning Laurence Jones. You can pick up the tangible atmosphere the minute you walk into the place. They have a slide in the building and a fully stocked bar. The staff bounce around the place eager to help anyone who comes into the building. It is no wonder they are currently in the top ten companies to work for in the UK as decided by the Telegraph.
This, in my view is a perfect example of how to run an organisation.
Employees can massively receive value in stress management and resilience training. It will allow them to look at things in a new perspective and give them a great ability to cope with work pressures placed on them. It will in turn improve productivity, reduce staff absenteeism and will improve staff morale.
In the meantime, here are some useful tips I would like you to take away –
- Ensure no staff are eating at their desk and that they get proper lunch breaks. This will improve energy, enthusiasm and ability to get things done. Working ‘over lunch’ will just make things worse.
- Consider installing a fresh water fountain and encourage staff to drink more water which will keep them hydrated and energised. Typically, 8 glasses a day is good. Steer as far away from the caffeine as possible which will actually cause more of a slump and dehydrate.
- Arrange so ‘away days’ where staff can all participate in fun activity together and ensure there are regular arranged social events. This can be anything from a game or a quiz once a week from social occasions arranged either after work one evening, during lunch break or on a weekend. We don’t have to reserve social events to Christmas/ once a year!
Please let me know if you enjoyed reading the article and let me know what you are putting in place for your staff, I would be very glad to hear how you are doing!
Until next time!
Janine is a stress management expert. She offers bespoke packages to organisations both in the private and public sector to help their staff and managers to be more productive and to be happy and successful in their roles.
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