• 4 min read
Help employees feel safe, comfortable, and supported in the workplace
by Aaron Haworth
Stress is a natural part of life. When you throw a global pandemic, world events, or deeply personal reasons into the mix, feelings of stress and anxiety are bound to increase. Some researchers suggest the stress levels of nearly 60% of the population are greater now than they were pre-COVID-19 pandemic.
One area where people are finding themselves experiencing increasing stress is at work. To help employees feel safe, comfortable, and supported today—and in the future—organizations can take several steps to help mitigate stress for employees.
Workplace Stress and Burnout
Stress occurs when individuals face situations where the demands—social, environmental, physical, work, or personal—exceed their resources and ability to respond in a healthy way. When people are stressed, it may be because they feel their resources are threatened. When stress grows, the risk of employee burnout or the state of emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion increases.
To help people overcome burnout at work, organizations can support two types of resources: conditional resources and social support resources.
According to the American Institute of Stress, workplace stress can cause several problems for individuals. A deterioration of personal relationships, sleep deprivation, or the lack of ability to perform a job well are a few stress-related symptoms to be aware of. Long-term exposure to stress can lead to serious mental health issues like depression. People who face long-term, sustained stress are also at greater risk of burnout in the workplace. In fact, before the COVID-19 pandemic in 2019, more than 25% of employees reported being at risk of burnout in the next 12 months. That number is likely much higher today.
Get the Stress & Resilience eBook
US businesses lose up to $320 billion annually due to workplace stress. Find out how to reduce stress for people at work to boost performance for individual employees—and the entire organization.
Stress has a major impact on an
organization’s bottom line. Employees experiencing high levels of stress
are more likely to suffer from absenteeism and report that their
performance has declined due to stress. Attraction and retention issues,
the loss of skilled workers due to burnout, and the added price of
healthcare support for the physical and mental health needs of employees
mean that efforts to reduce stress in the workplace are an investment
well worth the cost.
While organizations have limited ability to
affect an individual’s personal resources—their mood, skills, health,
and so on—employers do have the power to curate a physical workplace and
organizational culture that promote the well-being
of employees. Organizations must do what they can to “do no harm” and
provide the necessary tools for employees to deal with whatever
stressors they may be facing.
4 Tips to Reduce Stress in the Workplace
Research shows there are 4 design steps you can take to help reduce employee stress in the physical workplace.
The Need for Social Support
organizations embody an organizational culture that fosters trust and
transparency, providing employees with significant levels of social support. Employers need to keep in tune with the desires and demands of their employees to help alleviate stress in the workplace.
organizational values and culture promote the wants and needs of
employees. Today, flexibility in the workplace—where, how, and when work
gets done as part of a work from anywhere
approach—leads to greater stress reduction for employees. Giving
employees the ability to take care of their personal life while still
completing work tasks offers the best of both worlds.
Organizations have the power, tools, and ability to make changes or policy updates to reduce the stress levels
of employees, leading to better outcomes for all. When stress levels
are low, employees are happier and more productive. It’s a win-win—low
stress is good for people and great for organizations. To improve
employee morale, productivity, and well-being, organizations need to
invest in workspace designs, applications, and accessories that work to
More on Resilience and Managing Workplace Stress
Find out how to build a better performing, healthier, resilient workforce that’s ready to take on any challenges the future brings.
• 3 min read
Buffer stress and prevent burnout by design
• 6 min read
Help people thrive in the work from anywhere ecosystem
• 5 min read
How culture and workspace design can reduce stress—for everyone