Stress in the workplace is an increasing concern for employers who are faced with the challenges of both managing the knock-on effect it has on performance, productivity and retention, and in ensuring employee well-being.
Understanding the underlying causes of unmanageable stress can be achieved with effective communication between the employer and the employee, which in some companies works well and others not so much. Open, relaxed conversation about work or personal concerns can so often be difficult or intimidating.
This is where gaining insight into your workplace culture, what you are doing well and what needs to improve can really come into its own. Here, you will find huge value in an employee survey, and we’ll tell you more about this shortly, but for now let’s have a further look at stress.
In 2020, of British adults in employment, a staggering 79% commonly experienced work-related stress. In fact, just 1% of UK employed adults say they never experience workplace stress.1 The figures speak for themselves and employers most certainly have a duty of care. The effect on individuals can be significant, with over 55% experiencing anxiety through stress, almost half losing sleep, and a third turning to comfort eating, and in heightened cases, recoiling from social activity.
To be clear, stress affects people differently – what becomes unmanageable stress for one person may be manageable for another. So many factors affect whether an employee can cope with the stresses of their work, and this is where, for an employer, it becomes difficult. There is no universal perfect solution. You need to understand where individuals are struggling, and it’s not always obvious.
There are many ways to work with your team to reduce stress.
Communication is paramount, showing support and above all, being open to listening to your employees. Other examples include training to boost confidence and performance, planning tools to align workload with capacity, clarity of responsibilities and goals, increased autonomy and flexibility, protected time for focused work, clear boundaries between the working day and personal time, team building and peer support…the list goes on and on.
The key is to identify the pressure points for your team and directly address them, rather than trying to solve all potential issues (an impossible task) or simply offering a ‘sticking -plaster’ of counselling or similar (treating the symptoms and not the cause).
By being aware of how stress could impact on your team, you can create robust well-being and development plans. And, by demonstrating that you are listening to, and acting upon clear indicators of underlying stress, you will show yourself as a caring leader.
Did you know that just being heard hugely reduces those feelings of hopelessness and unmanageable stress?
So, by showing you are in tune with your team’s needs, thoughts, challenges, and work pressures, you can have an instant positive impact upon their stress levels. Staff trust and respect employers who care, and this supportive environment will help boost engagement and performance.
A rapid and reliable method of gathering these insights can be an employee survey and this can form the first part of wider actions to achieve a happy and high-performing workplace culture.
The Little Survey Company specialises in not only creating bespoke surveys designed to obtain the information you need for your specific aims but also in analysing the free text answers in great detail, collating this data into actionable insights that will deliver clarity on how to address well-being and stress most effectively for your team.
If you’d like to understand your employees, show you listen and care, and are ready to make meaningful changes to your workplace culture, then consider the many benefits an employee survey can bring.
To put it simply; ask the right questions, take the time to interpret the answers, and invest in your team now and for the future. Surveys are completely stress-free, we hasten to add, with our help…