National Stress Awareness Month is drawing to a close but what can employers do to maintain awareness and reduce stress in the workplace year-round?
Time and again research has revealed the correlation between stress and absences at work. In fact, a study from Group Risk Development (GRiD), revealed that 27% of employers believe work-related stress contributes to a higher than average absence.
Other reasons given for higher absence rates included dealing with staff shortages (29%), poor work/life balance (20%) and low morale (19%).
Employers are also recognise that not having health and wellbeing initiatives in place only exacerbated staff absences as 22% said that not having health and wellbeing initiatives in place was the reason for having worse absence than others in their industry, and 14% said not having income protection in place was a reason for worse absence.
Katharine Moxham, spokesperson for GRiD commented: “When stress is an issue for employees, it’s an issue for employers too. Poor absence means poor productivity. The support is there, and we want people to know about it and use it.”
Companies with lower than average absence acknowledge they had good staff morale (57%), good work/life balance (50%) and offer flexible working initiatives (34%). All things that contribute to reduced stress.
“When employers recognise the huge impact that stress has on their employees and their business and they do something about it they see the results. In practice this means better morale, less absence and increased productivity. Those that utilise the services that come with group risk products are reaping the rewards and we would encourage others to follow suit.” Moxham adds.
To further assist employers with reducing stress in the workplace Workfont, the leading Enterprise Work Management solution, have put together 5 practical tips to reduce work related stress in employees:
Ensure each project has a plan
57% of workers stated that poor planning and lack of organisation was a major stressor. Employers need to make sure employees are equipped with the tips do proper planning ahead of starting a project.
Reward employees with time off
Outside of financial rewards, 60% of employees want more time off. If employees are working overtime on a specific project and out of the normal work hours, it would be a good idea to offer them time in lieu to ensure they’re enjoying a solid work life balance.
Empower employees in the decision-making process
44% of workers want more involvement in decision making to ensure they get their say and can help steer the project to ensure they are successful. Getting their input early on can ensure any worries they have can be minimised early on.
Have clear processes in place
23% of workers stated that a lack of standard processes for work increased their stress levels. Furthermore, 42% of office workers put in 6 or more hours of overtimes every week because of bad work processes. Employers must ensure that clear processes are in place and that they are communicated to all employees.
Foster transparency and open communication
57% of workers cited a ‘lack of communication and visibility into the work done by others’ as a major pain point leading to stress in the workplace. Businesses can counter this by introducing work management tools that promote visibility on the progress of work being done and encouraging a workplace culture of transparency and honesty.