Are your employees stressed out? Don't ignore employee stress by thinking it should be a normal part of their everyday work life. Sure, some positions are going to be more stressful than others, but it's up to you to help employees better manage it.
Not assisting employees is not only detrimental to employees, but to you as well. A study conducted by researchers at Harvard Business School and Stanford University found that workplace stress causes at least 120,000 deaths each year and up to $190 billion in health care costs.
Of course, this does take into account all types of businesses, but households are employers as well, which means they need to stay vigilant about how their employees are fairing.
"If employers are serious about managing the health of their workforce and controlling their health care costs, they ought to be worried about the environments their workers are in," said Jeffrey Pfeffer, a professor of organizational behavior at Stanford University.
Researchers found that stress caused by high-demanding jobs increased the chance a physician would diagnose an employee with an illness by 35 percent. Job insecurity increased the probability employees would report poor healthy by 50 percent, and long hours made mortality rates spike by 20 percent.
Stefanos Zenios, a Stanford professor and one of the study's researchers, noted that these deaths are basically on par with numbers associated with heart diseases and accidents.
If you believe your employee are stressed out, here are four ways to reduce their burdens:
1. Meet with them
Meet with employees regularly. Doing so allows you to measure their engagement, motivation and stress levels, and it can help you decide how to specifically address their stressful situation.
How many times you meet with your domestic staff is up to you. If you employ many workers, you may need to formally meet with them at least once a month or even each week. However, if you only have one or two workers, you may not need to meet as regularly because you see them more often.
2. Encourage them to get some R&R
By law, employers have to allow their employees to take regular breaks depending on the number of hours they're working. However, that doesn't mean you can't allow employees to take more breaks or, at the very least, allow them to schedule their lunch breaks when they want.
In fact, it could be a great idea to encourage your employees to take 20 minute breaks every 90 minutes. This matches how we sleep, noted the National Sleep Foundation, and generally go about our daily lives, reported the New York Times.
3. Improve peer-to-peer collaboration
Most employees enjoy working with their colleagues, and doing so likely increases their happiness as well. If you're not sure how to improve collaboration, try hosting several nonwork related events each year that allow employees to get to know each other better. This could help improve their in-office communication. We also suggest scheduling regular group meetings that allow employees to vent frustrations. This kind of low-key environment is a great way to talk through issues and solve problems.
4. Recognize and reward employees
Employees love to get recognized, but many feel their employers fail to regularly do so. By rewarding hard work, employees may feel less stressed, be more likely to go above and beyond their job responsibilities and be less likely to quit.
If you're employees are feeling stressed, don't let it go unaddressed. Make changes quickly and immediately.