image courtesy of ninaspencer.com

As an entrepreneur, most of us desire to have a staff that will assist us in grabbing our dreams by the horn and sailing to the moon.  This journey can be extremely stressful for us but what about those working around us?

It is important, whether you hire interns, independent consultants or employees; for you to be able to identify the stress levels of the people you rely on to assist you in achieving your goals.  Their burnout is not only detrimental to their health but it can also sidetrack your progress.  Therefore, it is important for you to not only maintain your personal sanity but also to promote the emotional well-being of those around you.

What are some signs of stress in the workplace?

  • Feeling anxious, irritable or depressed – this does not include people who naturally have this disposition but those who are normally happy or content at work but lately just don’t seem to be feeling it
  • Apathy, loss of interest in work – again, not the people who are always complaining about their job but the workers who normally don’t mind coming to work but all of sudden they act as if they could care less or don’t want to be there
  • Problems sleeping – I know you don’t go home with these people but you can tell if someone is dragging at work or if they look as if they hadn’t had a good night’s sleep in a while
  • Trouble concentrating – this is an obvious sign of stress and can also be dangerous depending on the nature of your work, workers in positions such as financial accounting or factories can be a liability to their organization if they are not focused on their job
  • Muscle tension or headaches – signs of stress can also manifest with physical symptoms
  • Social withdrawal – if a worker who is normally social or outgoing begins to keep to his/her self that is a sign that there is a problem
  • Increased use of alcohol or drugs – it may not be happening at work but the symptoms can carry over and affect their disposition and performance in the workplace; this usage will likely manifest into one of the signs listed above

Although you can’t change the conditions of a person’s personal life, there are some things that you can do to reduce or alleviate stress within the workplace:

  • Encourage employees to take care of themselves:  create weight loss/ fitness competitions, offer discount gym memberships, encourage group participation in local walk/runs
  • Communicate any changes immediately and effectively:  if major announcements have to be made, make sure everyone is told at the same time; make sure all communications are done so in a positive tone; live by the motto that no one in your organization can keep a secret, if you tell one person everyone will eventually find out and what they learn may not be the truth which can cause stress and turmoil
  • Provide financial counseling: many financial advisors will come into your organization and provide complimentary counseling because they are hoping to obtain clients while providing invaluable advice that can help employees whether they hire the adviser or not; when workers are not concerned about how they are going to pay their bills or provide for their families, they are more likely to be focused on their jobs
  • Manage employee responsibilities:  if a position is being eliminated and the tasks are being reassigned, carefully assess whether the individual receiving the assignment will be able to handle the additional responsibility; also make sure you are communicating clearly what their new responsibilities will be and determine whether it will affect their performance
  • Maintain a positive working environment:  don’t allow negative people to dominate your work environment; nip any bickering or infighting in the bud the moment it starts, don’t assume that the situation will work itself out; you have to set the standard for behavior and let employees know that negativity will not be tolerated
  • Keep it simple:  make sure you break large projects into small manageable pieces and encourage managers to delegate to capable employees
  • Maintain a team mentality:  when possible, allow employees to have an opinion about the way things are done; they often have insight that you don’t because they are “in” the trenches; many employees become disengaged because they feel like they don’t have voice in the organization
  • Be consistent:  if you are going to talk the talk, you must walk the walk – be encouraging, communicate positively, treat everyone the same; as an employer you can afford to show favoritism

Everyone gets stressed from time to time.  Unfortunately, some people don’t handle dealing with prolonged stress very well and they can become a danger to your organization.  Learn how to identify the signs of stress in the workplace then help to alleviate stress whenever possible for your staff.

Would you like to create a plan to reduce stress in your organization?  Contact me (contact-at-lakeshawomack-dot-com) for a complimentary consultation to discuss your work environment.

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