Some workplace stress is normal, even acceptable. We all come up against challenges that can push us close to our limits. However, if your workplace is an environment where stress is all too common an occurrence, it’s a workplace that is at risk of collapsing at any moment. People will leave, people will burn out entirely, and people will resent the place they work. It’s a good idea to identify the stressors your team are under so you can start tackling the biggest ones.
Lack of agency
If your business is treating any one person as little more than a workhorse, then you better believe that they’re going to feel penned in and used. People like to have some impact and some agency. Empowering them, keeping your door open to creativity and even incentivizing solutions with little rewards doesn’t just make them happier in their job. It means that the people closest to the work can provide solutions that you might not be able to find otherwise. Whether that’s in efficiency, in customer satisfaction, or in improving your ROI.
A workload they can’t handle
Roles evolve and the best employees are able and willing to take on new tasks as they grow. But you have to make sure that you’re not straining them too hard. You can’t always expect them to speak up. Instead, teach them about the value of organizing their workload and time management. Then help them find tools like software that can help do certain things quicker or even automate them.
The future is uncertain and there’s no way to control it. However, employers are in the position to make the future at least a little more secure for their employees. Monetarily, they can use 401k small companies plans to offer the kind of long-lived financial protection against the kind of worries most people have about their future. But you should also look at their need for some sort of future path in their career, too. Instead of always hiring, think about focusing more on developing people internally to grow them through the company.
Their work-life balance
Naturally, they have needs in the present, as well. One that too few employers really consider is their need for work-life balance. Not everyone is suited to a 9-to-5 in the same office as everyone else. Sometimes, they need more privacy, which could mean remote working or offering a different space in the workplace. Sometimes they need more control over their own schedule, which employers can give by offering flexible paid time off instead of regimenting sick days and holidays.
This contributes to every point above. If employees are afraid to talk about the issues that matter to them, they will sit on their stressors. They will silently look for jobs that offer 401k plans and flexible hours. They won’t object to being given work that would push them over their limits. Make sure you’re not engendering a workplace of fear. It might offer you a shallow modicum of control over them, but it is your business that suffers in the end.
Operating with a healthy level of challenge is always going to be stressful, so you don’t need the business itself to be causing any more. Remember the needs of your team so they can focus on the needs of the business.