How Workplace Stressors Can Impact More Than Your Mental Health
If you’ve watched the news lately, you may have heard about the trend many companies nationwide are experiencing, known as quiet quitting. Employees, who are fed up with their jobs and the fact that they’re pushed too hard with little reward, decide to dial it back and do the bare minimum. Quiet quitting has become a trend because many companies don’t take the pulse of their workforce and require too much out of their teams without thinking about the repercussions.
Burnout is one of the main causes of quiet quitting. Employees get so tired they can’t continue, and it’s a real issue. If managers do think about burnout, they usually associate it with poor mental health, but workplace stress can have a much broader impact. Let’s talk about this issue and what management can do to reverse the trend.
Physical Health Is Affected
When we consider the effects of poor mental health, many think of ailments like depression, frequent headaches, and exhaustion. However, the stress that causes those issues can also affect your physical health. When you’re anxious, your body tends to tense up as a defense mechanism to guard against injury. If you’re tense all day, your body may trigger other reactions that can be painful over time, including lower back pain, high blood pressure, and arthritis.
Studies show that workplace stress can also lead to dangerous weight fluctuations. Everyone is different. Some people may get so stressed that they turn to food for comfort and have difficulty stopping once they start eating. On the flip side, some workers can get so sick to their stomach about the conditions at their job that they can’t eat at all, so they forgo the essential nutrients their body needs.
Employees who feel these unnatural fluctuations should talk to their boss and seek help. For those struggling to manage workplace stress, seeking assistance from local therapists can be an incredibly beneficial step. Likewise, management needs to watch for these danger signs. If they become obvious, have a heart-to-heart with that individual and find a way to help.
Stress Affects Work Performance
The ultimate irony that many management teams don’t always understand is that they may want to require overtime and work their teams as hard as possible, but if people are pushed too hard, the stress may actually make them less productive.
There are many ways that anxiety can affect work performance. For instance, if someone is forced to take on several analytical tasks that require extreme focus, and they don’t get the necessary breaks, they could start feeling exhausted and losing focus. Another common issue is that leaders require their teams to complete countless tasks in a short amount of time. The result is that they go so fast that the work is full of errors, defeating the whole purpose.
Stress can be so dangerous for employee morale and focus that folks could get hurt while on the job. To satisfy their managers, many employees may cut corners to complete their tasks faster. If they work in a typically dangerous profession like construction or engineering, they may even forgo the necessary safety equipment. The results can be deadly. Also, an employee who’s rushed may need to make split-second decisions. If they’re not in the right frame of mind, they could make the wrong choice and fall into a dangerous situation.
Anxiety Hurts Families
When you’re stressed at work, it can be easy for you to vent your frustrations at home and cause unnecessary drama. When you leave at the end of the day in a bad mood, it’s far too easy to be angry with or socially withdrawn from those you love. If this situation causes ongoing problems, and you’re unhappy in your home life, it’s also likely you’ll be unproductive at the office.
Then there’s the issue of having a job that requires travel or long hours offsite that can keep employees away from home and family for too long. In addition to missing your loved ones, there are also unexpected side effects to your health.
For instance, employees can be so homesick that they can have trouble sleeping or fall into the trap of malnutrition, leading to loss of muscle function and a malfunction of the immune system. That’s on top of the potential social isolation that can lead some to lash out at coworkers.
How To Keep Your Employees Happy
So, now that you know how detrimental workplace stress can be, how can management turn things around for a brighter tomorrow? Start by being positive and having an open-door policy. Encourage employees to come to the office to express their concerns and assure them that you’ll actively try to help them. Annual reviews and weekly check-ins are essential to verify that your team is happy and has everything they need to succeed.
Once you set them up for that success, provide the recognition they deserve. Employees need to know that they’re a valued piece of the corporate puzzle and that their contributions matter. When a worker does a good job or makes a customer especially happy, give them kudos at the team meeting or a public space where their coworkers can pat them on the back. Other employees may see that positive recognition and want to do their best to get similar feedback.
There are many ways workplace stress can affect the folks at work and their overall well-being. If you notice an issue, immediate action is required. Look for the signs and take proactive measures, and you’ll have a team that’s proud to walk in the front door every day.