After hearing a what seemed eternal discussion whether using a cell phone in the office is the main cause of inefficiency in the workplace or not, I decided to make some research of my own. What I found regarding cell phones was discouraging, but fear not! I have a piece of information that might change the way you see inefficiency in your workplace and some causes of it that you, as an employer, might be able to change: stress is one of the main causes of inefficiency in the workplace.
As a person that lives under constant stress, I understand how hard it can be being productive while also wanting to curl down and either sleep or cry. Nevertheless, I never stopped to think where this stress might be coming from, given that I just assumed that it was a result of a huge amount of work to do and so little time to do it. Well, I’m here to tell you that my workload is not the only cause of my stress, and it’s probably not the cause of your employees’ stress either.
As a person that lives under constant stress, I understand how hard it can be being productive while also wanting to curl down and either sleep or cry. Nevertheless, I never stopped to think where this stress might be coming from, given that I just assumed that it was a result of a huge amount of work to do and so little time to do it. Well, I’m here to tell you that my workload is not the only cause of my stress, and it’s probably not the cause of your employees’ stress either.According to the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety,
According to the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety, Workplace stress is
“ The harmful physical and emotional responses that can happen when there is a conflict between job demands on the employee and the amount of control an employee has over meeting these demands”.
A study carried by the Global Benefits Attitudes stated that over 30% of employees in the US have shown significant signs of workplace stress, notably reducing their efficiency levels. I find that percentage troubling, therefore, I’ll present you the most common reasons for workplace stress. I encourage you to analyze if some of those causes could be affecting your employees…you might even increase efficiency and productivity in your company!
Lack of autonomy
This point can be characterized by having too much responsibility and little to none authority. Now, I’m not insinuating that all employees should be given more authority, nevertheless, by simply asking for an opinion (that you might even decide to ignore later), every employee can feel valuable for the company. This can be very notorious in big companies with many employees, making some of them feel underappreciated and ignored.
No work/personal life balance
Let’s be honest for a second: no one can spend a weekend without dealing with an email from work, or a call from a client, or whatever it is that is being prioritized over family time. Nevertheless, not having a clear separation between work and life, and I’m sorry to tell you, is one of the main causes of workplace stress. Work should not be done during family time, and employers should not expect it to. I understand how some things are, in fact, urgent, and that’s completely fine, nevertheless, some things can wait until Monday.
Nothing can be more exhausting than uncertainty… that applies to the working environment with an addition of unrealistic expectations and a ton of work to do. When tasks and expectations are not clear between employers and employees, levels of stress can go overboard and lead to tension. The good news is that the solution is simple: having and setting clear tasks and goals to reach.
Uncomfortable physical space
The physical space in which a person works can be one of the most underestimated aspects of the work day. Personally, a window can make or break my day, and being able to see a beautiful day outside every day from my desk inspires me to work better. In the workplace, the environment matters: if the office is noisy, badly illuminated and completely lacking natural light, productivity will be the one taking the punch. Since there is nothing that could be done about the way an office is built, other aspects can be considered to make the working experience more friendly such as controlling the temperature, the amount of noise, music and even the smell of the office. Let your imagination go wild!
Although these are just some of the many triggers of workplace stress, it’s important to know how to fight the most common ones. Stress is the cause of many health problems that eventually lead to a lack of productivity and motivation to improve. The great side of it is that it can be fixed in a rather simple manner that will not only make you and your company more efficient but also happier and healthier.
Regardless of the changes that can be applied in the workplace to control stress, there is a personal component that needs to be taken into account. Each of us has the responsibility to take care of ourselves, which includes managing our stress. For more ways to counter stress as well as habits that help maintain a healthy and stress-free life keep tuned in the blog for my next post.