You don’t need insurance statistics to tell you that stress levels are rising. Whether you are a business owner or a member of a growing firm, stress is part of your job description. Unfortunately, stress is not only a health hazard, it’s a business hazard leading to more sick days, greater turnover, lower standards of output and less creative energy.
(Continued from Part 1)
Communicating with clients can take place in other ways. E-mails save a lot of time. They also keep your company name in front of potential clients. Newsletters, podcasts and webcasts are all ways to communicate with your clients.
Internally, communications must be efficient and transparent. Recently a charity whittled down their donor communications from a five-page form to a single-page form. A time saver with all critical communications in a single page.
Keep your door open and encourage office input – from anyone. If your administrative assistant comes to you with a great marketing idea, are you going to say ‘no’ simply because the idea wasn’t hatched by your marketing director.
In turn, keep the staff up to speed and provide as much notice as you can on big projects coming their way. Nobody likes surprises – especially a surprise that requires your people to work through the weekend – even if you do bring in Chinese for dinner.
Encourage Good Health Practices
Workplace stress contributes to a host of serious, even fatal conditions including heart attack and stroke, depression, free-floating anxiety and insomnia – just to name a few. If you see your bookkeeper scoffing down a giant burger for lunch, develop an office health plan that includes numerous (but non-intrusive) breaks, healthy snacks in the meeting room, a 30-minute walk after lunch (very energising) and other “at-your desk” activities that keep that blood flowing to the brain.
Ergonomic chairs, desks, wrist rests, keyboards and other office equipment is also a good investment, though these “must-haves” may be a little more expensive than the standard issue office gear.
If you’re the only member of the team, you only have to bring one muffin. Good. But, if you run a small office, team meetings are morale boosters, problem solvers and workflow facilitators.
These meetings should be very informal but notes should be taken and every member of the operation should be encouraged to speak his or her mind. People want their ideas heard and this is the place to do it.
It’s also the place to settle personal disputes, work out solutions, and find out who’s overloaded and who isn’t and who can jump in when needed.
Schedule these meetings at the beginning of the day Monday so you and your team know what to expect that week.
Workplace Stress Stats
- An Australian medical study shows that 16% of terminal kidney disease is caused by stress.
- In the U.S., $300 billion is spent each year on stress-based compensation claims, absenteeism and high employee turnover rates.
- Depression will be the #1 cause of job- related diseases in the coming century.
- 73% of diabetics also experience hypertension, also called high blood pressure.
- One out of six Australians has hypertension. 35% don’t even know it!
- Stress is related to five million premature deaths each year.
- 13% of all deaths worldwide are related to stress and hypertension.
- A report from the UK indicates that 66% of those being treated for hypertension still have high blood pressure.
- Stressed employees are a drain on the business’ bottom line.
If those figures don’t convince you that it’s time to turn down the pressure in the office, your business will suffer.
The facts back it up, so take the steps needed to keep yourself and the crew flying high. You’ll see the results in your bottom line.