Employee stress is a very common problem. Especially in companies or teams that work with goals related to sales or productivity.
This is because, by constantly seeking professional improvement, many employees end up disrespecting their own personal limits. And that compromises physical and mental health.
But stress at work is not just an employee's problem: the company also suffers the consequences of this problem. It manifests itself in the form of low productivity, higher rate of errors in processes and even in the organizational climate, which is negatively affected.
Therefore, action is needed to identify, treat and prevent employee stress. For that, there are some essential measures that the Human Resources team can adopt — and that's what we'll talk about next:
How to identify employee stress?
First of all, we need to clear up some myths about stress at work. Sometimes we can classify that most intolerant or aggressive teammate as “stressed”.
However, care must be taken not to generalize or reduce potential stress-related problems. It is often confused with personality traits.
Therefore, first and foremost, Human Resources professionals must know how to observe and identify employees who are in a state of stress.
Some classic symptoms of real stress situations are mental exhaustion, constant physical fatigue, sleep disorders, irritability and anxiety.
These symptoms can go unnoticed by colleagues and HR, but there are some classic signs that can be noticed in employees who suffer from stress at work. Some of them are:
- low professional self-esteem;
- anxious behavior;
- absences and constant delays;
- frequent illness;
- decrease in socialization;
- low productivity;
- lack of engagement.
If they are not identified and properly treated in time, employee stress can trigger psychological frailty, such as anxiety, depression and burnout syndrome. Other impacts generated in the company is the increase in the turnover rate. Stress generates demotivation with the work environment and this increases turnover.
How can HR help?
The Human Resources team's mission is to maintain a healthy and harmonious work environment, so that all employees feel comfortable, motivated and satisfied with their professional routine.
Therefore, it is also up to HR to seek measures to treat and prevent stress in the work environment. Below, we list some actions that can be taken in this regard:
1. Team awareness
Work stress can be as harmful as it is a silent villain. Some employees only become aware of their state of stress when they reach extreme levels of mental exhaustion.
Faced with this situation, it is the responsibility of the HR team to develop awareness campaigns and prevention of stress among employees. This can be done through lectures on workplace health and informational materials on the subject.
2. Relaxation environments
Some modern companies that have a organizational culture less traditional are already betting on preventive measures for stress. These strategies seek to include moments of leisure and relaxation during professional daily life.
In addition to helping to prevent employee stress, it also contributes to increased motivation, productivity and engagement, as employees feel more comfortable in the workplace.
Breakout rooms with sofas and ottomans, relaxed environments with games and video games or even a garden are good options for environments that can help bring moments of relaxation for employees.
3. Financial well-being
We live in a time when HR must assume, once and for all, its multifunctional and strategic side for the qualification of the workforce of its companies.
Often, taking over the reins of conditions outside the work environment, but which impact on professional routine. This is the case for the financial well-being of employees.
And as an example of this practice, a new modality arrived on the UK residents market – the salary on demand.
The CareerBuilder survey, conducted in 2017, attested that 78% of respondents are barely able to settle the bills with their salary.
In addition, of the more than 3,000 respondents, about ¾ of them also attested that they have one or more debts accumulated. Clear sign that something needs to change, do you agree?
THE salary on demand is a modality that has been gaining strength in the market and aims to add flexibility so that employees are paid for hours worked but not yet paid. Something that alleviates many of the financial problems — and those generated by the challenges of closing the accounts.
Let's look at a simple example: if the company is in the habit of making payments to its human resources only on the 30th, or on the fifth business day of each month, professionals are limited to that..
If an outstanding account is going to earn interest in that period when there is no more money in the account, the debts pile up. However, with the offer of salary on demand, the professional can receive payment for the days already worked whenever he wants. Best of all, it has the flexibility to plan your month.
We recommend that you read this article to better understand salary on demand. In it you will understand the features of HR Consultant UKy, a corporate benefit of payments on demand.
4. Prevention therapies
Other efficient strategy for the prevention of stress at work is to offer alternative therapies that help with relaxation. Massage therapy, shiatsu, acupuncture, yoga classes and group meditation are very viable options.
These therapies can be offered in the workplace, at alternative and flexible hours so that everyone can participate. However, in organizations where there is no physical space for such practices, agreements with clinics and professionals are good options.
HR can include them in the benefit plan the company, along with other health care options, such as medical care, gyms and psychotherapists.
5. Open dialogue
Employee stress is often due to simple issues that could be resolved through a frank and open conversation with leaders and managers.
However, the culture of rigid hierarchy established in some companies makes many prefer to “swallow frogs” rather than having to conflict with their superiors. In the long run, this type of situation can become a source of stress and demotivation.
Companies that care about the quality of life of their employees always seek to maintain the quality of the internal communication.
It is important that HR values a culture of constant dialogue, offering safe spaces so that employees feel comfortable to take a stand and give negative feedback when necessary.
6. Valuing efforts
One of the most common reasons that lead to employee stress is excessive workload. Most of the time, this is not due to the volume of tasks per se, but to the effort of the employee himself, who seeks to stand out in their roles.
But so that dedication does not become a health problem, the company itself must be aware of this. A very simple action that can make a difference is the adoption of employee appreciation measures.
This must be done both individually and publicly, bearing in mind that everyone's efforts must be recognized. From simple compliments in everyday life to commemorative events, the employee must feel that their dedication to the company is enough.
How to act in severe cases?
The consequences of work stress can be quite serious and, if not taken care of with due attention, lead to extreme states of psychological frailty.
It is worth remembering that, in extreme cases, in which the employee has already compromised his/her professional performance and personal life, the company should guide him/her to seek treatment with specialists in psychotherapy and psychiatry.
Oftentimes, the employee will need to be away from their duties for a while to fully recover. At that time, the company must offer support and respect the period of leave necessary for the professional's rehabilitation.
Most of the time, the “request for help” it is silent and HR must know the right time to intervene to avoid more serious conditions, being aware of signs of stress among employees and taking preventive measures as soon as possible.
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