Workplace Stress: The Bottom Line
By Stephanie Whiting, ENFJ
According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), four out of 10 American workers view their jobs as the largest cause of stress in their lives. Workplace stress has increasingly been cited in surveys as commonplace and, more importantly, it contributes to increased absenteeism, tardiness and worker dissatisfaction leading to intentions to quit. The cost to an organization can be considerable.
So how can management begin to ameliorate stress in the workplace? A good beginning is to understand the social factors surrounding stress.
For employees, one of the most important factors in their work environment is a sense of social support. According to the American Journal of Health Promotion, the single best predictor of employee commitment to an organization is their belief that management cares about their well-being. Low employee commitment often results in decreasing productivity, a lower quality of work performance and eventually, staff turnover.
Tips for Building a Healthy Organization
1. Recognize and acknowledge employees for their contribution
What better way to demonstrate management's appreciation of worker value? Formal recognition of employee contribution whether individual, departmental or from the organization as a whole, is a way management can build and support worker commitment.
2. Offer opportunities for training and career development
Training opportunities are an investment in both the employee's and the organization's future. In addition to keeping an organization current in the latest technology, knowledge and skills, management's concern for employee career growth is both a means of social support and a value-added job component.
3. Value worker input
Create a system through which employees have a voice. Does your organization solicit suggestions from their workers? One of the most basic of human needs is to feel part of a community and to be heard. Are employees asked about their experience in the workplace? They are part of the eyes and ears of the organization. Use their knowledge to assess and improve workplace efficiency.
Healthy, Wealthy and Wise
Wealth is measured in more than one way. Employee well-being, a healthy organization and company bottom line may all benefit from consideration of social factors in the workplace. Increasing social support in an organization can be a powerful step towards addressing worker stress. When half of our waking hours are spent on the job, workplace stress becomes a quality of life issue. Building a sense of social support for employees helps them to see that management cares about their well-being.
Click here for a Bio on Stephanie Whiting
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