Unfortunately, stress is all too common in the workplace — but that doesn’t mean that you as an employer can’t do anything to lessen it for your team. Employees may feel stressed for a number of reasons, both in their personal and working lives, and the COVID-19 situation has exacerbated many stress factors. Here’s how to tell if your employees are feeling extra stressed right now, and what you can do to bolster employee stress management.
Signs Your Employees Feel More Stressed Right Now
They Make More Mistakes Than Usual
You hired your employees for a reason: You knew they would do a good job. If all of a sudden you’re noticing a decline in the quality of their work, this could be an indicator that they are feeling overwhelmed. Maybe they’ve been making careless mistakes, or maybe their productivity has taken a hit. Either way, it may be time to check in and see how you can help them manage their stress.
They Keep Complaining
Stress may lead to more negativity in your workers. For example, they may complain that a task they’ve been assigned is “impossible” or they may act unpleasantly towards you or a coworker. They may also catastrophize a situation that’s normally not that big a deal. If you notice that an employee who is usually a positive presence is now complaining or displaying negative emotions on a regular basis, take it as a warning sign that they need to decompress.
They Don’t Seem Excited About Their Work
Happy employees will typically seem engaged in meetings. They will volunteer for various tasks and appear motivated to do a good job generally. An employee who is disengaging from their work and communicating less with the team is probably burnt out — whether because of work or because of something happening at home. Pay close attention to how your employees act in meetings, as this can clue you in to sure signs of extra stress.
They Mention Problems They’re Having
Make sure to listen to your employees if they share information as to what’s going on in their life. Chances are they may be telling you about something that’s a source of stress for them right now. In the office, this may look like water cooler chat; while working from home, it may be something that comes up while you’re waiting for everyone to join the video call. They might talk about a specific problem, or they might talk about a behavior that’s a sign of stress — like staying up till the wee hours of the night.
Your Turnover Is Increasing
It’s normal for some amount of turnover to happen in your workforce. There are plenty of valid reasons for wanting to change jobs, but if you’re noticing employees quitting left and right, this might mean that something in the work environment has proved too stressful. This might be an overly-heavy workload, feelings of financial instability or communication problems that cause unnecessary tension. Whatever it is, you’ll need to figure out the root cause so that you can create a more stress-free workplace.
How You Can Help
Ask Them Directly
Keeping an open line of communication with your employees is one of the marks of great management. If you notice your workforce seem stressed, your first port of call should be to ask them directly what would make their job easier. They may need a lighter workload, more paid vacation, wellness perks, more opportunities to socialize with their coworkers. Your job then is to listen to their concerns and find solutions that work for everyone.
Add Financial Planning Tools to Their Benefits Package
One less obvious solution to excess employee stress is to give your workforce the tools to take charge of their finances. During COVID-19 especially, they may be feeling overwhelmed financially — perhaps their spouse has lost their job; maybe they have a kid going off to college; or there could simply be more expenses lately.
If you can’t afford to raise salaries at the moment, you can still help them out by adding financial tools like ScoreMaster to their benefits package. This will allow them to feel empowered financially, gain a better understanding of spending’s impact and work on reaching their best credit score. In turn, this will alleviate some of their stress and result in a happier workforce.
There are many signs that your employees are under a lot of stress lately. As an employer, you should work to spot those signs and remedy any problems where possible. Stress and productivity are closely linked, so not only will this result in a happier, healthier workforce, but it can also improve their work output, strengthening your company in every way.