Whether it's due to massive workloads, looming deadlines or an overly critical company culture, thousands of employees across the country suffer from work-related stress and all the health implications that come with it. In fact, more than 1 in 5 (21 per cent) workers in New Zealand have experienced burnout or stress, according to figures collated by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.
As a small business owner, it's vital that you do your part to help your staff avoid becoming a part of this statistic. Why? Well, reducing your workforce's stress levels can not only help you unlock greater productivity and reduce absenteeism, you'll also be playing an important role in maintaining your employees' overall wellbeing. WebMD noted that stress can contribute to a range of health problems, including:
- Heart disease
The risks involved with stress are clear, but what can you do to create a more well-balanced working environment and help your employees avoid burnout?
1. Designate a few hours every day as uninterrupted work time
Set aside scheduled periods of an hour or more every day for uninterrupted work.
Between internal meetings, keeping in touch with key clients and trying to clear the eternally overflowing inbox, perhaps it isn't too surprising that many employees find staying on top of communication to be a stressful and time-consuming part of their day.
Author and productivity expert Julie Morgenstern explained that you can help your workers in this regard by setting aside scheduled periods of an hour or more every day for focussed, uninterrupted work.
"Be sure everyone understands that there are to be no interruptions unless it's an emergency," said Ms Morgenstern, as quoted by Harvard Business Review.
2. Encourage a positive workplace culture
The Society for Human Resource Management suggested that another way to reduce stress levels in the office is to encourage employees to adopt a positive mindset, rather than dwelling on negative aspects of the job.
There are many ways of achieving this. Encouraging social activity among your workforce through team bonding both in and out of the office can help employees stay buoyed up and ready to tackle whatever challenges the job may throw at them.
As touched on, reducing work-related stress can have a very tangible impact on your employees' productivity, the service they're able to provide and ultimately on your company's bottom line. Small business accounting software such as CashManager from Accomplish may be able to help you measure the positive financial effects of creating a more stress-free working environment.