Stress in the Workplace
What's Eating Your Company? |
In today's human-capital workplace, stress can be a company's greatest asset or worst liability. The right amount of stress can drive your staff to achieve at high levels. Excessive stress can hurt morale, slow productivity, and lead to a variety of maladies, from chronic absenteeism to workplace violence. In this article, we talk to Barbara Parton, a business consultant who specializes in increasing the value of a company's human capital, to learn more about workplace stress and find out what you can do to manage it.
Stress is "not a bad thing, but a necessary thing," according to Barbara Parton. Like a stringed instrument, ...view middle of the document...
Insight into stress is elusive, yet it is possible to understand and control it, according to Barbara Parton. To manage workplace stress, leadership must look beyond their direct reports and gather concise information about the people at all-levels of the organization. "Get to know your workforce," says Parton. Interview people to find out about their life condition: job, financial, environmental, personal, family, social. Listen to feedback and look at turn-over rates. What do the demographics say? A picture of your company's condition, and needs, will soon become apparent.
Barbara Parton works with companies to find viable solutions to stress-related problems. In one case, Ms. Parton worked with a client faced with chronic absenteeism and high presenteeism (low productivity). After conducting an organization-wide stress audit, Ms. Parton discovered that the majority of employees were not suffering from workplace stress, but considerable home-life stress. The mean age at the company was 48. Issues such as elder care, healthcare, and family changes were rife in the organization; boosting stress levels, and lowering on-the-job productivity.
Working with Ms. Parton, the company was able to institute flexible-leave and employee assistance programs to combat stress. Leave time was made...