According to the American Psychological Association, around three-quarters of adults (76%) said they have experienced health impacts due to stress in the prior month, including headache (38%), fatigue (35%), feeling nervous or anxious (34%), and/or feeling depressed or sad (33%).
There are many reasons that people feel stressed but what should leaders do about this?
With a shortage of talented people willing to work, many employees feel they are doing more than one person’s job.
Others are not happy about going back to the office full-time because they are back to dealing with potentially long commutes, etc.
And the list continues to grow…
I find that some of the leaders who I interact with admit they feel a bit helpless in assisting their employees.
They recognize that the amount of work each person does has grown but do not come up with creative solutions to help them in other ways.
Such things like providing lunch several times a week so employees don’t have to think about going to the store as often and not spending evening time preparing lunch could help.
Bringing in a masseuse and/or providing lunchtime yoga classes is another thought.
A big idea is rethinking the whole way we work.
I recently conducted a training for leaders who work in the energy industry.
We explored different ways to make the actual output of work more effective while also making employees’ lives better.
One leader analyzed the shifts that each of his employees worked and realized if they worked four 10-hour days versus five 8-hour days it actually was not only satisfying overall but also enhanced their customers’ experiences.
By having a three-day weekend, workers could better handle their weekend chores.
Most usually feel harried by Sunday night that not everything got done so walk into work Monday feeling overwhelmed, depressed, and/or tired which does not make for a good way to start the week.
Obviously this does not work for every company but allowing employees to brainstorm new ideas on how to have a better workplace makes them feel empowered and valued.
Many great products and services came about due to brainstorming so why not consider it in your place of work?
It is an experiment worth trying but I can already feel those who are reading this shaking their heads saying, “this won’t work here.”
The important thing to remember here is that leaders can speculate all they want about how to make employees happy but until you actually give them the opportunity to express themselves, you don’t really know.
As we know, Covid forced us to change the way we worked with some success so why would you want to go backwards now?
I suggest trying it, keeping an open mind, and if it seems really outlandish, ask the employees to go back to the drawing board and rework it.
It is also essential that you understand what each employee is stressed about even if to you it seems trivial.
How are they coping now with it?
Has their way to cope changed over time?
What else do they need?
You may not like their answers but try to be as empathetic as possible.
As we know, finding and retaining employees are leaders’ #1 challenge these days so take the time to really understand your employees’ needs.
You may be more stressed after hearing what they have to say so eat a pint of ice cream or whatever your go-to food is when you are stressed.
Then take a walk and reflect.
Then tackle these issues.