What Really Causes Employees’ Stress

Willis Towers Watson’s Global Benefits Attitudes Survey, found that 49% of the employees surveyed had stress levels that were either above average or high. In addition, their Staying@Work report found that 75% of U.S. employers identify stress as their workforce’s top health risk. However, many of them do not know exactly what is causing their employees’ stress. In the report, most employers stated that the answer was to improve work/life balance and encourage employees to not check their work email at home. Employees disagree. For them, stress is largely a result of more traditional concerns like unmanageable workloads, lack of managerial support, insufficient sleep and financial worries

How Employees Are Handling Stress

Luckily, Willis Towers Watson’s report found that 80% of employees manage stress on their own. Employees cited things like engaging in physical activity, using relaxation techniques, or writing down a plan to address their stress. However, around two thirds admitted to indulging themselves when they are stressed; either by eating badly, smoking, drinking, or retail therapy. These behaviors will eventually lead to poor health, a worsening financial situation, and more stress. That is why it is important for employers to know what really causes employees’ stress and how create an effective and holistic stress management program.

Helping to Reduce Stress

  1. Customize programs to the needs of your workforce: Since a large number of employees manage stress on their own, conduct a survey to find out what employees want or need to help them manage stress. It could be anything from having access to a gym that offers relaxation and yoga classes to stress management and resilience classes.Whatever it may be, work on having a benefits strategy that makes those things easily accessible.
  2. Create a healthy workplace culture: To help employees avoid negative coping mechanisms, make creating a healthy workplace culture a priority. Provide programs that encourage healthy habits, as well as address financial well-being. This can help alleviate financial concerns, and in turn help them improve their financial situations.
  3. Train your managers to deal with stress: Managers can play critical role in helping to raise awareness about causes of stress in the immediate work environment. They can also help employees better understand company initiatives. It is a good idea to train managers to recognize when employees are coping with stress. You should also provide them the flexibility to deal with employee stress in a way that best meets their employees’ individual need.
  4. Create a supportive work environment: Creating a supportive workplace environment involves overall awareness of stress and the importance of mental health. When employees feel comfortable about disclosing their concerns and admitting to stress, they are more likely to ask for and benefit from the support of their managers and colleagues.

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