To someone who worked in the 1970s or 80s, doing business today appears easier thanks to modern technology. While it is true that the use of modern tech, including computers and internet services, has facilitated business growth, work itself hasn’t gotten any easier. Workloads have actually increased instead of decreasing.
Many employers would consider the increased efficiency and output to be a significant win. It can sometimes come at the cost of employee health and wellbeing. Managing employee mental health is a big part of an employer’s responsibilities. After all, a healthy workforce is invariably the most productive one. Read on for more information on managing employee stress and motivation.
Ways to Manage Employees Feeling Stressed Or Overwhelmed
Workplace stress in particular is one of the leading factors behind falling productivity. If not managed carefully, workers can often feel overwhelmed by the volume of work they do in any given year. This can quickly spiral out of control, manifesting a situation whereby workers are unable to cope with the stress and so burn out or end up quitting.
High turnover and burnout rates are not something any employer would want to be associated with their brand. It can result not only in social backlash but also an impaired ability to hire new workers. Even a third-party staffing agency would have a tough time sourcing candidate.
Luckily, there are a few steps employers can take early on to prevent this from happening. The right approach, of course, will depend on several variables. These can include the industry, business, workplace culture, management sensitivity, and of course the affected workers. For example, temp work is not usually as challenging as specialized roles.
Regardless, the sections below may offer some useful insights:
Why Workers Feeling Overwhelmed Is Concerning
Challenging work helps workers build experience and skill depth. However, when workloads become unreasonable, they have the opposite impact. Workers start to feel stressed, which in turn triggers the human body’s stress response mechanism.
This can often devolve into a situation where workers start becoming irritable, aggressive, or withdrawn in parallel with declining productivity and performance. The long-term effect of stressful work will ultimately result in worker burnout or attrition.
While the mental and physical wellbeing of an existing workforce matters, the impact of worker burnout and turnover can have far-reaching effects. For one thing, it can severely damage a firm’s employer brand. The employer brand is a big part of an employer’s value proposition, or EVP.
The EVP in turn helps candidates perceive the firm as a more desirable employer. When faced with a poor employer brand and EVP, the probability of sourcing high-quality talent drops sharply. Third-party hiring partners like a mortgage staffing agency could also find it difficult to meet the staffing requirements for such a firm.
Countering Stress and Feelings of Being Overwhelmed
It is important for managers and workers to remember that stress from workplace duties is fairly normal. Almost everyone has had a rough day, week, or month. However, when stress or feeling overwhelmed becomes constant over a longer period of time, it should be treated with concern.
Before moving to any remedial strategies, businesses need to identify the cause behind the stress. It could be factors other than workload. Workplace bullying, bias, and sexist work cultures can all contribute heavily to stress. Managers need to rule out these potential contributors before moving on to address the problem. Once done, here are a few good ways to help workers manage stress and feeling overwhelmed:
Offer Organizational Advice
When it comes to managing workload stress, it can often be resolved simply by managing workload more efficiently. Managers and supervisors, by virtue of experience, are often in the best position to offer advice to workers on managing their workloads.
When seeing a consistent drop in performance and motivation, managers should be proactive in offering advice to employers on how to prioritize and handle various aspects of their job.
Create Manageable Schedules
Good organization skills can help manage tasks more efficiently. Proactive organization is no match for an unrealistic workload, however. It is up to managers to design work schedules that are challenging, but also realistic.
Even a small milestone like accomplishing all of a day’s given tasks can help boost motivation and pull workers out of a state of lowered morale.
Encourage Seeking Advice
Managers usually manage teams of people. Some may even manage multiple teams or departments. It can become unrealistic to expect managers to be on the lookout for indicators 24/7. With that in mind, workers need to do their part in being proactive communicators.
However, managers should always be open to discussions with workers, especially those seeking advice on managing workplace stress. This serves to create a stronger loyalty between teams and managers in parallel.
Be Empathic to Workers and Teams
Emotional intelligence and sensitivity are crucial if employers are serious about maintaining workforce emotional health. A worker may not always be able to communicate stress or specific stressors verbally.
They will still offer plenty of indications through their body language, attitude, and even performance. While managers should always respect worker privacy, it is always heartening for an employee to feel seen and valued.
Ask for Feedback on Workload
Effective management depends heavily on effective two-way communication. Managers should not restrict themselves to simply assigning workloads. They should also encourage and seek feedback, particularly on how manageable these workloads are. The resulting feedback should be received constructively, and the workload adjusted accordingly.