Has stress kept you awake at night? Latest findings from a study of more than 97,000 employees in 33 industries and 139 countries has identified that workplace stress is one of the biggest contributors of sleep deprivation*.
EQ Consultants' Principal Consultant Steve Kennedy gives an insight into workplace stress and how businesses can manage it.
What causes stress?
There are a number of factors which can trigger stress, including work, family commitments, moving, travel, sickness, over commitment, work changes, environmental changes and lack of self-confidence.
Research shows that lack of sleep is the biggest symptom of stress, with one-in-three working-age adults regularly failing to get enough sleep. According to professors at Harvard Medical School in the United States, they estimate that the toll of one-in-three working adults not getting enough sleep costs the country around USD $63.2 billion annually. This includes money lost through absenteeism, accidents, mistakes, and impaired productivity employees suffer when they show up to work.
Steve says: "Stress and sleep go hand-in-hand. Lack of sleep is a bi-product of stress so if your employees are stressed at work, this will impact their productivity, mood and health – a process that's directly linked to business performance."
How do you identify stress within your team?
Being able to identify stress within your team and yourself is key to preventing issues with workplace safety and business performance.
Steve explains: "Research has identified that poor sleep is one of the first indicators of stress. Physical and emotional symptoms include: headaches, fatigue, sickness, moodiness, outbursts, anxiousness, depressed, fearful and tearfulness. There are also behavioural and cognitive symptoms to be aware of, including lack of concentration, negative comments, inflexibility.
"There are many reasons why stress can stem from the workplace. Irregular working patterns are largely linked to sleep deprivation and around the clock access to technology. If this is the case, ensure that team members are getting the screen breaks they need by creating break-out spaces and holding morning / afternoon teas to encourage them away from their workstation."
Identifying stress is essential to managing and overcoming stress-related issues. Once this has been identified an action plan can be created:
"Sometimes simple changes can have significant results; take note of your employees' surroundings and their working environment. A large proportion of our lives are spent at work so it's important that your team feels comfortable. Light and airy co-working spaces, break-out areas and simple improvements to workstations including desk, chair and screen height can positively improve job satisfaction and motivation, helping to reduce stress."
EQ Consultants' Stress Management workshops
Is stress bubbling under the surface of your business? EQ Consultants' Stress Management workshops are designed to help managers and leaders identify, prepare and respond to issues caused by workplace stress. The workshops can be held in-house to small / medium size groups or one-to-one.
*Statistics sourced from Virgin Pulse, Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Harvard Medical School.