Employee burnout and workplace stress is extremely common today. According to Deloitte’s Workplace Burnout Survey, it found that 77% of its surveyed 1,000 full-time US professionals have experienced burnout at least once in their current role.
Business leaders and managers need to take measures to prevent workplace stress, not wait until it impacts employees’ well-being and productivity levels to take action. However, identifying early signs of stress among employees is difficult to say the least. Particularly in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, where employees were made to work from home and lines between work and personal lines blurred, it becomes even harder for managers to spot the warning signs.
In this new world of working, here are some ways in which managers can identify and manage stress within the team.
Identify common stress-related symptoms
Spotting early signs of stress-related symptoms can help managers and employees manage the root cause head on rather than waiting until the problem becomes something bigger. Employees who are feeling stressed and overwhelmed typically display a myriad of symptoms, such as missing deadlines, producing poor work quality to calling in sick often or even being involved in more workplace conflicts. Training managers and equipping them with tools to identify common stress-related symptoms can help both managers and employees to effectively handle stress.
Understand how varying work arrangements may impact employees
The COVID-19 pandemic has created a paradigm shift in terms of work arrangements. Flexible working is no longer a workplace perk – it is a necessity to ensure business continuity today. However, the varying work arrangements can induce stress among employees as they struggle to define the boundaries between work and personal lives. As hybrid work arrangements become a norm, it is necessary for managers to understand and help employees transition to the new way of work. Look out for employees who may have trouble adjusting to the different work environment, such as working from home or working in the office. Gather feedback or speak to employees individually to understand what type of working arrangement best works for them.
Help employees succeed in managing stress
The best way to help employees succeed in managing their stress levels is to be authentic. Show empathy and be genuinely concerned about their mental health. Do regular check-ins with employees to understand their progress and equip employees for success in managing their stress levels, be it through financial means such as time off or self-care. After all, investing in employees’ well-being showcases that the organisation is genuinely concerned about employees’ well-being, translating into a more productive and engaged workforce in the long run.
Create a safe avenue for employees to open up
Have designated avenues or communication channels for employees to voice out their emotional or mental well-being concerns without facing judgement. Business leaders and managers should foster an “open-door” policy where employees feel comfortable to speak to someone about their workload or any other factors that are contributing to their stress.
Workplace stress is extremely common. By training managers to identify early signs of stress among employees and providing tools and avenues for employees to cope with stress, it will ultimately help to create a more engaged, productive, and stress-free workforce in the long run.