Mental stress costs Australian businesses more than $10 billion per year, according to the latest Safe Work Australia report. Stress in the workplace is a growing concern for employees and employers in Australia.
The effects of work related stress in businesses can include high absenteeism, poor performance and productivity, low morale, poor motivation and increased accidents and incidents reports. This is in addition to the physical effects stress can have on your employees.
To minimise the harmful effects of stress on both employees and organisations, employers should make a considerable effort to identify and address the causes of stress in the workplace. A collaborative approach by employers and employees to address workplace stress will improve the health and wellbeing of your employees and achieve improved working conditions and productivity.
So how can you as a business owner support your employees to combat stress and improve wellness in the workplace?
Focus on communication
You need to keep your best employees happy, and the best way to do that is to keep an open line of communication.
Start reviewing your company’s practices and discuss how they affect your employees with your employees. Remember, employees are looking for a manager who cares.
Keeping an open line of communication between you and your employees will build better relationships and help you determine how to keep your employees happy.
Flexible working arrangements
With the right approach, flexible working arrangements can help your employees achieve a work-life balance and benefit your business.
By improving work-life balance for your staff, flexible arrangements can have great benefits including increased staff retention and attractiveness to potential employees, reduced levels of sick leave, and working hours that best suit your employees and customers.
Having employees who can work from anywhere, at any time and who aren't tied to their desks means businesses can be more responsive and you will have happier, less stressed employees.
Implement a wellness program
Most adults spend more of their waking hours at work than anywhere else, so implementing a wellness program aimed at improving the health and social skills of your employees can be a major benefit to both employer and employee wellbeing and happiness.
Effective workforce health programs have been shown to improve the health and wellbeing of employees and facilitate organisational changes, such as reduced absenteeism and increased productivity.
Some examples could be include gym memberships, onsite stress management classes, meditation sessions, yoga classes, mentoring sessions and lunchtime health seminars.
Celebrate the wins
The most important way you can empower your employees and reduce stress is by celebrating the victories, no matter how small. If even the smaller wins are acknowledged, they can boost your employee’s mental health and mood, and that of the entire workplace.
Employees who feel appreciated and know their efforts have been noticed are empowered and more likely to be productive and less stressed.
Celebrating wins serves as a reminder that a good, focused goal works and gives an energy boost of motivation to continue delivering outstanding work. It also allows your employees to create deeper relationships in your business by connecting in a way that is not just work-related.