British employees spend on average 50% of their waking hours working. But for the 34 million workers in the UK, work can be a cause of stress and often anxiety, with work-related issues such as excessive workload, unrealistic deadlines and poor management cited as major causes of work-related stress.
In fact, Bupa healthcare estimates that half a million workers have work-related stress at a level that’s making them ill, with over 12 million working days a year lost due to employees taking time off. As a result, UK employers lose an estimated £77 billion per year due to productivity losses associated with employee illnesses.
Whilst employees need to feel confident in their ability to raise these issues, the onus to combat this doesn’t lie solely with them; it also falls on business leaders to ease the burden and create a happy and productive workplace. But how can this be achieved? Here, the business experts at Opus Energy offer a few tips to get you started.
Are you treating your staff fairly?
Employee benefits are often the first thing would-be job candidates are drawn to when applying to a company. Therefore, ensuring you have a good offering has never been so important in the fast-paced recruitment world we currently exist in.
Why not try a merit-based bonus system to inspire employees to accomplish more? Whilst these systems can be difficult to implement at first, they can help overcome a major source of dissatisfaction for your employees – it shows that they are being rewarded for their efforts and progress.
Working long hours has been cited as a significant cause of stress and discontent in the workplace. Therefore, as well as looking at financial rewards, other benefits such as the option of working from home, more annual leave, or more flexibility over days off, could help employees significantly. In addition, as full-time working mothers have been found to be the most stressed of all employees, benefits such as childcare vouchers may help reduce the stress of juggling childcare and work.
Are you making yourself available to staff?
It’s important to regularly check in with your employees, as this not only creates an open and honest relationship between you both, but it also helps employees stay on track, and gives them more confidence over the work they are completing. This in turn can reduce some of the stress and anxiety surrounding their work. Make sure your employees know that you always have time for them, regardless of how busy you are.
Take a step back
Whilst it’s important to regularly check in with staff, it’s just as important the employees don’t feel ‘micromanaged’. Micromanaging can be a sign of poor management, as it suggests a lack of trust. This can lead to a lack of motivation and cause frustration. Instead, empower your employees through delegation, and the result will be two-fold. Your employees will be more motivated, and you will see better results. Your employees will also be more confident in their position if they know you have fully trusted them with the task.
Overloading your staff
Many workers report feeling overloaded and overworked, with many reporting job insecurity as a key reason behind them taking on more work than they can cope with. When your employees feel stretched too thin, their productivity will decrease, and their stress will increase. Therefore, it’s imperative that you help your employees create realistic work targets so they can maintain a good work-life balance.
As you’ve likely built your company from the ground up, your staff need to be happy and motivated to help you take your company to the next level. Therefore, treating your employees with respect and ensuring they are satisfied and confident in their work can make the difference between your company succeeding, or failing.