Promoting a Positive Work Environment

As a nation, Americans are stressed, and there is no shortage of causes. The COVID-19 pandemic still looms large in our minds, alongside global conflicts, inflation, as well as climate-related disasters and an increasingly toxic political environment. According to the American Psychological Association (APA), there is mounting evidence that our society is experiencing the psychological impacts of collective trauma.

A report by the APA has noted that the long-term stress sustained since the COVID-19 pandemic began has had a significant impact on Americans’ well-being, which has boosted the rates of chronic illnesses —particularly among people between the ages of 35 and 44, which increased from 48 percent reported in 2019 to 58 percent in 2023. 

Understandably, this stress is playing out in workplaces, negatively affecting absenteeism, productivity and turnover. So how do companies ensure their workers are properly addressing mental health? By reducing the issues they can control, such as sources of anxiety in the workplace. 

Reducing Workplace Stressors and Pressures

Efforts to reduce stress and anxiety in the workplace can yield big results for companies. Ultimately, the practice will effect a return on investment in better productivity, fewer conflicts, lower turnover and fewer sick days. Some ways that companies can help lower employee stress include:

Offer flexible hours. Employees with care responsibilities at home may find it difficult if not impossible to meet standard company hours. Others may experience extreme aggravation from commuting during high-traffic hours. By offering flexible hours, organizations can keep the employees they have and attract new workers from larger, higher quality labor pools in the future. 

Allow telecommuting. Many companies are finding that a hybrid approach to employment is working for both them and their employees. Workers can reduce their stress levels by limiting their frustrating daily commutes, reducing them to only a few times a week. In addition, companies may find they can reduce the costs of office space and utilities if more workers are working from home. 

Enforcing paid time off. An astonishing number of workers are leaving their paid time off behind because they are too busy. Companies can help by requiring workers to take their allotted time off, and resisting the temptation to call or message out-of-office workers when problems arise. Workers should also have adequate sick leave and be encouraged to use the time so they don’t infect the rest of the employees. 

Provide resources and support. Many workers know they are stressed, but they don’t know where to begin to address it. Ensure employees are aware of the signs of stress and anxiety and provide referrals if necessary to professionals who can help. It’s also important to promote open communication with employees about mental health. 

Ask workers what they need. Before your organization begins crafting a program to reduce workplace stressors, it’s a good idea to directly ask employees what they need. This way, you won’t waste resources on programs that aren’t wanted. 

Consult a workplace safety organization. Workplace safety consultants are experts in implementing programs that will help employees recognize stressors, their reaction to them and how these stressors affect their job performance. 

In Southern California, Unishield has been providing businesses with the highest quality workplace safety training and compliance solutions for employers. In addition, Unishield offers first aid kits and medical supplies, first aid restocking services, industrial safety equipment, and portable emergency medical equipment such as the lifesaving AED (automatic external defibrillator). Call 800-480-5855 or visit our website for more information. 

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