Employees in Europe are struggling to effectively deal with stress. Effectoy International’s employee survey insights from 46 European multinationals found that 52% of employees are not currently able to manage workplace stress.
So why are employees struggling to deal with stress?
Too much stress
In short, there’s too much of it at present.
The recent increase in stress is being caused by work-life imbalances and heavy workloads. Employees are currently struggling in today’s fast paced work environment. Less than half of employees in multinationals report having a good work-life balance, whilst too many employees are experiencing high workloads.
The impact of technology
One of the causes of work-life imbalances is technology. The recent advances have made our lives easier, but it has also made it more difficult for employees to switch off from work. Being connected 24 hours a day means that employees spend more time working than they may realise and even when on holiday, employees keep up to date with what’s happening in the office. A lack of time away from work has resulted in employees’ work-life balance becoming imbalanced.
It may sound like it’s easy to blame technology, however next time you’re on a train take a look around. Nearly everyone is on their smartphone checking their emails, Facebooking, Tweeting or keeping up to date with current affairs. People simply aren’t taking time out. For me personally, my smartphone has made my life easier, but it’s also made it harder to stop working.
Employee workloads have also seen an increase. During the recent economic turmoil, business declined and organisations were logically forced to reduce staff numbers. Today business has picked up, however companies have opted to continue to do more with less. The result is that employees don’t have access to the necessary resources (48% of employees report not having sufficient resources) and workloads have soared.
For organisations the issue of stress, workloads and work-life balance is important. If employees are to reach their potential their level of stress, workload and work-life balance need to be healthy. The long-term consequences of too much stress, high workloads and a poor work-life balance are detrimental. Ranging from a loss of physical vitality, to psychological stress, burnouts and long term sickness, the end result is costly to both employee and employer.
Effectively dealing with stress and high tension
For employees to stay healthy, it is imperative that they are able to effectively release the stress and tension that builds up at work. When employees are unable to do this, the stress and tension acts as a pressure cooker, which eventually explodes, resulting in long term absenteeism.
Experience has taught us that the following three best practices help employees deal with stress and high tension:
1. One of the first steps to handle tension is recognising the signs of tension or stress in oneself. Today there are some outstanding coaches and courses available, and it may therefore be wise to consider investing in a combination of the two.
2. Make sure there are enough planned opportunities for people to blow off steam together. For example, this can be done during a team meeting, over a coffee or something outside of work, such as a team event.
3. Communicate about the effects of long-term stress and tension. Additionally, it may be valuable to consider providing tips and information on how employees can relax both during and after work.