As you already know, an unhappy employee is often an unproductive employee, which can cost your business. They can be disruptive to your work culture and more damaging to the organisation than you think!
Research carried out by the University of Warwick has revealed that happy employees work harder and are 12% more productive and motivated than their unhappy, stressed out counterparts. They are intrinsically driven and place more value of personal satisfaction from their work. (Study reference link)
Great leadership is the key to fostering a stress free environment. Organisations who construct trusting work environments that model best practices and produce continued positive cultural change, in turn enables a stress free workplace.
Common employee stress factors at work
- Workload – menial routine tasks, long working hours, non-relevant work to employee skill set.
- Leadership/Management Style – Micro-management, lack of access to communicate and gain feedback from the leadership group, poor HR organisational communication and policies.
- Interpersonal Relationships – Poor working culture, lack of support from colleagues, line manager, little to no employer initiative to foster a social environment.
- Career Concerns – unclear job expectations, job insecurity, lack of career progression and professional/personal development.
How to create a stress free work environment
The most effective way to create a stress free working environment is through fulfilling human needs. When employees feel their needs are being met in the workplace, they feel comfortable, confident, and motivated to work productively. These simple practices will help you foster happiness in your workplace.
- Make people feel like they matter
Organisations that focus on people to create positive workplace cultures reap the benefits of the productivity that comes with employee satisfaction. Big companies like Google, pride themselves on the creative workplace environments with initiatives such as free food, health and dental, even haircuts and dry cleaning, on-site gyms, swimming pools and gaming areas. Google even employs people whose sole responsibility is to keep people happy and productive by creating a stress free work environment. Many mid-sized companies also offer their employees lower cost ideas that have a great effect in stress management such as, free tea and coffee and regular breakfast catch ups.
- Effective communication
One of the contributing factors of workplace stress is ineffective communications. Ways to reduce uncertainty in the workplace is to improve employer to employee, leadership communication and encourage open communication, so employees are clear on their purpose and what their role is in the shared vision, which will greatly facilitate a reduction in stress at the workplace.
High stress is relative to the lack of perceived control over a given situation. Effective communication helps employees understand their objectives and responsibilities better, thus enabling reduced stress and better management of expectations. It also increases employees’ knowledge on the support available to them via the benefits offered. However, our last year’s research highlighted that 9 in 10 HR professionals face challenges when communicating their benefits in the workplace, which should be addressed.
- Employee feedback
One of the best ways to help improve working culture and reduce stress is by implementing an employee feedback system, where all employees are able to provide feedback to the organisation’s leadership team.
Two of the most important human needs are to feel understood and important. Employee feedback systems meet both of these needs quickly and effectively, giving the employee a sense of importance and allowing them to feel understood by giving them an outlet to voice their opinions and concerns.
Employers that invest in their employees’ wellbeing, benefits and communicate them effectively will gain a significantly larger return on investment due to increased employee productivity and happiness.