Work-related stress is a relatively new phenomenon. It affects all professionals, from sales executives to doctors and commercial pilots and it can drastically decrease employees’ work performance. Stress can be caused by a variety of work-related circumstances that range from strict deadlines to bad interpersonal relationships and even poor lighting.
Work performance is also affected by other types of stressors such as bad family relationships, lack of sleep and various personal fears and anxieties. This article will try to explain how stress affects work performance and what measures employers can take to lower their employees’ stress levels.
Common causes of work-related stress
Some workplace stressors are more likely to decrease employees’ productivity than others, but in general, stress is caused by a combination of work-related and personal factors. Since stress levels also depend on individual perception, it’s sometimes hard to find the exact trigger.
Some of the most common causes of work-related stress are primarily inadequate work organization and poor communication between employees. When there’s a low level of problem-solving support, work overload and low participation in the decision-making process in combination with poorly defined organizational roles, unfair management practices and unspecified responsibilities of supervisors and colleagues, the stress level will sky-rocket.
In addition, if the company doesn’t provide opportunities for career development and keeps the pay level stagnant, employees will find it hard to find any job satisfaction which will further contribute to their personal stress level.
Effects of stress on employees’ performance
A stressful work environment is a major contributor to job burnout, and it’s the cause of many strained interactions with superiors and colleagues. It also forces employees to lose their focus and forget important information. Being mentally exhausted and under constant tension at the workplace, stressed-out employees can make very costly or even fatal mistakes.
Stress also compromises workers’ overall health and can cause headaches, sleep disorders, high blood pressure and vision problems. Stressed-out employees usually take more sick-leaves to recuperate from these side-effects, which increases absenteeism and decreases the company’s productivity. Work-related stress can also create frustration and panic and can fuel employees’ resentment towards the company or towards their superiors and colleagues.
It’s the responsibility of each employer to ensure their employees’ health is not endangered during the course of their work. This can be done by assessing the working environment and determining adequate measures that will decrease employees’ stress levels and therefore improve their productivity.
Redesigning the workspace – from flexible layout to quality lighting
Before applying any concrete measures regarding employees’ health, it might be best to start with changing the work environment. The office space can be redesigned so it’s less crowded and with a better and more flexible layout that allows more freedom of movement and eases the communication between co-workers. It can also be very helpful to provide a chill-out zone within the premises as well as on-site amenities, flexi-time and the opportunity to work remotely.
One major factor that influences employees’ sense of well-being and productivity is good lighting. No amount of fancy interior design will matter if the space is poorly lit, and good industrial LED lighting can significantly improve working conditions and create a more pleasant and secure work environment. For instance, every warehouse needs professional light fixtures for safety, but it also has a positive impact on efficiency and productivity and can be fitted in almost any type of industrial premises to match the specific working conditions. The main advantages of high-quality industrial LED lighting are that it offers a safer and healthier work environment by minimizing risks of fatigue and injury at work while boosting employees’ mental stability, physical health and workplace efficiency.
Improving the work environment is an important step in dealing with work-related stress, but what is even more important is curing it at its source. There are many preventive measures that can be included such as introducing workplace wellness schemes, organizing team-building events and activities, offering a variety of stress-management and occupational health and safety training. On these trainings, participants should learn how to manage the technical and social aspects of their employee life. Good stress management practices in the workplace also prevent stress and help employees to recover from it.
Additional measures for minimizing work-related stress can incorporate outsource services which provide additional support to the employees in need. Troubled employees could be offered counselling, where an expert will conduct a psychological assessment and find ways to minimize the effects of work-related stress.
Employees’ satisfaction and productivity often depend on how their work engagement makes them feel. In most cases, this criterion is even more important than salary or career prospects. Introducing some of the measures listed here might be challenging, but they’ll certainly bring positive changes to the company’s culture and improve employee overall health and productivity.