How stressed are your employees?
May is Mental Health Awareness Month and it’s also as great a time as any to take a moment and check in on your employee’s mental state.
People experience stress in many ways and for many different reasons. However, it’s important to note that an astonishing 80% of employees feel stress on the job.
Nearly a third of workers report feeling extremely stressed at work or having yelled at a coworker because of workplace stress. And 10% said that physical violence has occurred in their workgroup because of stress.
Some could argue that workplace stress is simply a fact of life. However, you can make it easier on your employees by providing resources and training for coping with stress. After all, when you make employee health a priority, your business enjoys returns such as better productivity.
So, how stressed are your employees? Could they benefit from a corporate wellness program aimed at reducing workplace stress? Check out these 5 signs that your employees are stressed.
#1) Change in Behavior
Over time you get to know your employees, particularly if you manage a smaller team. You know who comes in early, who stays late, who always gets their work done on time, and who could work on their dependability and productivity.
So while you might be used to Always Late Albert arriving late, it’s odd when prompt Polly starts doing it. Conversely, if Always Late Albert starts coming in early, perhaps he’s feeling overwhelmed by his responsibilities and feels like he needs more time to complete them.
Other things to watch out for include sociable employees suddenly withdrawing, changes in eating habits, working through breaks, etc.
The point is, keep an eye out for changes in behavior. The behavior itself isn’t as important, but rather deviations from the norm for each employee. If you manage a larger team and don’t know all your employees personally, be sure to enlist the help of your human resources department.
#2) Irritability and Displays of Emotion
Do you know how you feel like a bright ray of sunshine when you’re stressed? No? Well, your employees are the same way.
Stressed-out employees are more likely to snap at each other, get angry with inanimate objects, or even lash out physically. If you start noticing this type of behavior, it might be a good idea to sit down with your team member and ask if they need a break.
Also, keep an eye out for unusual displays of emotion. As you’re probably already aware, some employees are naturally more emotional than others. Again, the key is to watch for displays of emotion that are not normal for that particular person.
Being stressed is exhausting. It is emotionally draining and over time it can really wear you out. If you’ve ever been overly stressed for a period of time, you will have experienced this.
Stressed employees can appear exhausted even as the workday is just beginning. They might have a hard time concentrating or focusing — which will often manifest as missed deadlines or falling behind on projects.
They may seem unexcited about their work or disengaged during meetings. They may communicate less with the team and withdraw from all work interactions — even the fun ones. Furthermore, they may complain about an assigned task, claiming that it is too difficult to complete or impossible to do on time.
Again, a tired day once in a while isn’t something to be too concerned about. Everybody feels tired (or parties too hard on a work night) every once in a while. But if it becomes a habit, your employee may be facing more than they can handle at the moment.
#4) Decrease in Productivity
To put it simply, too much stress negatively affects everything. You’ve probably already noticed it in your own life. When you’re overly stressed you can’t concentrate, you feel tired, you’re distracted, and you just can’t tackle life with the same rigor and excitement.
As you might imagine, you can’t be as productive in that state of mind. Well, neither can your employees.
To be clear, a certain amount of job stress is good for your employees. A little bit of stress often motivates us to turn our full attention to a project or encourages us to do our absolute best. But too much stress begins to do the opposite as the negative effects of stress begin to chip away at motivation and productivity.
If you notice your employees’ performance slipping, maybe it’s time to check in and see how they’re doing.
#5) Change in Appearance
Long-term stress eventually can negatively affect a person’s appearance. Their skin can break out in acne, their hair can fall out, and their nails can become weak. Coupled with a nervous habit like biting or chewing on their nails, you may notice that your employee’s once nicely kept hands start looking rather unkempt.
Some people gain weight when stressed, others lose it. Along with a lack of motivation and depression, some people begin to take less care with their appearance.
When it’s time to talk to your employee, be sure to tread carefully with this one. Starting a meeting with your employee with a line like “I noticed you’ve gained a lot of weight recently…” is probably not the best way to check in with them.
Instead, use this information for your own observations. Then, when you sit down with your employee, cite something more generic such as “I’ve noticed you seem tired or distracted lately, is there anything I can do to help?”
A Healthy Workplace
Employee health is essential for a well-run, productive business. Furthermore, happy employees can only help your business improve. Happy employees do their best work, putting their best effort into their tasks, and helping your business to flourish.
One of the best ways to ensure employee health and happiness is by noticing when they’re stressed and offering them the help they need.
If you’re looking for a way to provide help for your employees contact our team today!