Stress in the workplace is not just an individual problem. It is a workplace problem.

Stress and burnout can trigger a downhill turn for the employee and organization. This is especially critical right now.

With many of our colleagues that were unfortunately recently laid off, those that are stayed behind now are now handling additional work responsibilities. As a result, this can increase the stress factors especially if some do not have the proper support from leadership.

According to the Gallup State of the Global Workplace: 2022 Report

  • Only 21% of employees are engaged at work
  • 33% of employees are thriving in their overall wellbeing
  •  50% of employees experience significant stress daily at work
  • Of those, those that identify with being burned out from work find it difficult to fulfill their responsibilities.

7 questions to think about for both the professional and a leader in the workplace:

1. Is there a lack of control?

Does the team feel safe, and in control of what the future holds, or is there uncertainty? Uncertainty about your job is a stress and anxiety producer. Is the company providing you with their short-term and long-term vision plans? 

2. Are there clear expectations? 

Does everyone know what their job expectations, results, and timelines are? There should be operations and systems and processes in place so any gaps, deadlines and projects can be adjusted.

3. What is the attitude and morale in the workplace? 

Is there a common goal that everyone is working towards and resources available for all? Not having the proper resources, and lack of praise, empathy and direction can lower morale.

4. What is the work-life balance and expectation? 

Are there unmanageable workloads, and increased responsibilities? Giving additional work with unreasonable timelines can create an imbalance. In all honesty, not everyone is readily prepared to voice their concerns on taking on additional work responsibilities. Instead, it’s for some to try to manage the workload and suffer silently.

Everyone’s needs are different when it comes to setting a work-life balance.  Some may need more mental and physical support.

5. What is the level of engagement and support? 

Is there a sense of dedication, and positive engagement in the workplace?  If you are back in office, is there support for the transition? Or, if you are hybrid or remote, what ways are you engaging with your team? There should be an open line of communication and provided times for breaks, high-touch points to check in and show empathy, support and concern.

6. Are there signs of exhaustion, cynicism, and detachment showing in yourself or your team member? 

There is a difference between work stress and burnout.  In fact, with stress the person is still able to function physically and mentally- even though they are struggling to cope.  On the other hand, with burnout, there is an inability to meet expectations. They can also have a loss of motivation and physical exhaustion.   So if you or a team member is experiencing these three signs chronically, stress may be leading to possible burnout (chronic stress) and may need further evaluation.

7. Where can we implement change and bring in support?

What additional support, services are being Both leaders and employees may need coaching and mentorship to feel more empowered and have improved communication.

What are some things we can start doing now?

  • Keep everyone up to date with the current situation, their expectations and the organization’s goals.  Having a sense of direction can ease uncertainty within the team.
  • Update or create the system and processes. If you have not reviewed your system in the past 6 months, or created one, its time to revisit.
  • Set realistic goals and time lines. With job losses, deadlines and expectations may need to be adjusted for everyone.
  • Start building a more supportive work environment.  Have a 3rd party provider or offer an EAP (employee assistance programs). You can also request and provide a more flex schedule.  There should be times for well-being breaks throughout the day, at least 15 minutes. Look for executive coaching, and mentorship to get the tools to address stress management.

Finally these are just a few ways that can help build a foster a healthier work environment.  Bottom line, we all share a responsibility in supporting well-being in the workplace to function effectively.

I’d love to know your thoughts and experience with stress and well-being in the workplace.

#worklifebalance #wellbeing #stress #executivecoaching #burnout