Stress/Mental Health: Who Suffers?

Updated: Sep 19, 2018

When you cant take it anymore "Hear no ..."
Photo Credit: Shantrella Jones, of The Professional Project

I have seen this affect associates/employees, and even executives. The work/life balance is no longer a huge part of a want when looking for a job, and therefore, many employers fail to cultivate this as a part of the culture regarding the company’s core values, which, ultimately ends up causing turmoil in the workplace. A statistic written in an article by the American Psychological Association, 2009, stated that “69% of employees report that work is a significant source of stress.” And I would have to say I believe this, because more times than not when I would check on my associates and/or they would run in my office to say, “can we talk?” It would always have to do with something that was stressing them at work not personal – but WORK! This was always so daunting to me because I was always told you should love what you do, right? (What’s your PASSION) So why wasn’t my department doing more to decrease stress, because I knew in my heart I wasn’t the only one hearing this. Well the answer was simple the complaints and/or concerns, or even solutions to the concerns weren’t making it pass the right people’s desk. So, what can an employer do to ensure that they are being proactive and preventative steps an employer can take regarding stress and mental health, before it goes into the deep end and its “too little too late” as they say.

1. Set the Mood: This may sound odd, but here is what I mean: 1. Listen to what you are being told by your associates, so you can effectively accommodate what they are stating is occurring. 2. Show-up; show them that you hear them, and you want to assist by showing up have round-tables with them, interact with them- let them know that you are human and hear what they are asking of you. 3. Set benchmarks: ask them to allow you time to get these suggestions handled, however, don’t give long timeframes- give relevant timeframes to relevant suggestions or concerns. These three steps will assist you in setting a mood that will allow them to start trusting you, seeing that you are at least trying by showing up, and then you have set the expectations by promoting benchmarks.

2. Be Available: Now that mood is set, but not necessarily right, yet. Be sure that you are available to them and that you have provided a healthy environment for your associates to feel like you are available or be sure to provide them with some type of outlet that your company provides them to have someone to talk to you if you aren’t who they want to talk to.

3. Invest time: This one portion can benefit all that are involved. When a company invest in their associates it shows some steps of the company going in the right direction. In this sense of investment how does the associates win they feel less stressed because they feel as though you as the employer truly want them there, and that causing them stress is not a part of the employer’s agenda but easing their stress levels is what the employer is trying to do. And how does the employer benefit from investing in the associates. The employer will benefit in vast ways 1. Increased productivity 2. Morale goes up 3. Less absences… and this is just to name a few.

4. No More Over Working: It has become a part of the American culture that “if you work more hours” this how you get ahead, because you have proven your loyalty to the company. This shouldn’t even be close to true when working for a company. Your work ethic, and quality of work is what use to be what got you ahead. As the employer stop putting the “business needs” ahead of the “associates need(s).” These associates are and should be the life-blood of your company, and when they feel over-worked this is when productivity, absences, and quality falter.

So, who suffers? We all suffer if steps aren’t taken to achieve a goal in assisting associates with handling their stress levels. While the steps above are minor steps it is essential that as some employer outlets are provided to the associates so that the “silent killer, stress, won’t take a friend out, one of your associate. It isn’t just essential its necessary that you as the employer to provide a positive impact at work and not an environment that cultivates stress based on the needs of the company and not the needs of there biggest investment “their people.”

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