Reducing Stress in the Workplace

Overworked and stressed employee

As the COVID pandemic is continuing to evolve and prolong business ventures, it is also having a considerable impact to mental health. Government response to COVID has caused 67% of American’s reported stress.[1] Managing children’s distant/online learning contributes to 71% of stress.[2]

Employers can help employees reduce stress in the workplace in several ways. Here are a few tips:

Track the stressors. If you notice employees are feeling burnt out or absences are increasing, take a moment to understand the causes of such issues. For example, if many employees are absent, look into contributing factors. Did something happen at work (i.e., an influx of upset clients, a large project deadline, a new acquisition) that could have impacted the absent employees? The best way to track the stressors is to open honest dialogues with your employees to determine the root of the problem and strategize adequate solutions to reduce stress in the workplace.

Extend support and resources. People cope with stress in different ways. However, there are plenty of ways to help your employees find healthy coping mechanisms. Encouraging breaks, where an employee is not working through lunch breaks, at their desk watching their inboxes fill up, or any work-related task, is one way to help employees disconnect and refresh. Encourage them to go out to lunch with a co-worker or take a walk around the parking lot (or neighborhood if working from home) to stretch their legs and clear their minds. Another way to encourage rest is promoting time off. While it may seem counterintuitive to a booming business, ensuring employees’ overall health remains intact should be a priority.

As of June 2020, 40% of Americans reported mental health or substance use issues. Understanding the true effects mental health has on individuals can help provide clearer insight to resolving mental health issues in the workplace.

Offering flexible work arrangements can help reduce the stress of finding childcare, commuting to the office, and in-office stressors (i.e., risk exposure, cleaning and sanitation). Be sure to update any company policies regarding remote work or flexible work arrangements to ensure compliance with local, state, and federal regulations.

Additionally, seek resources to help support your employees. Establishing an employee assistance program (EAP) is a great way to provide such resources. EAPs are typically set up through third-party vendors who provide services or products to participants. These services can include financial, medical (including mental health and substance use), familial, legal, and social support. If you already have unique benefits, work with your vendor to see if you can provide company discounts to encourage employee use.

For example, through its partnership with Vensure Employer Services, SBS Payroll was able to provide free telemedicine to all clients, employees, and family members for 90 days. Further, SBS Payroll offered significant car rental discounts through its corporate car rental program to assist with clients resuming business travel. Other efforts included distributing informational communications on COVID-related updates to (1) ensure clients remained compliant with changing legislation, (2) alleviate any stresses regarding business operations and uncertainty of the evolving pandemic, and (3) remind employees and clients that their best interests remained at the core of business decisions.

Promote healthy coping methods. Whether you encourage your employees to find their own ways to recharge or implement an employee wellness initiative, it is important for employers to prioritize employees’ health. Establishing a room dedicated to quiet activities like reading, meditating, yoga, or other relaxing coping methods can go a long way.

To learn more on how you may better assist your employees, please contact SBS Payroll. From boosting your suite of employee benefits to revamping your HR policies and procedures, our team of industry professionals can provide you the resources, tools, and support to further your business successes.

American Psychological Association
World Health Organization

[1] APA

[2] APA

[3] CDC

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