Few would argue that technology has had a detrimental impact on the workplace, with communications tools and platforms now meaning that most office workers can login to their work from wherever they are, increasing productivity and access to information at the touch of a button.
But one area where it may be causing an issue is with workplace stress. According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), 600,000 people suffered with work related stress, depression or anxiety in 2018, mainly caused by an excessive workload. And with tech and digital start-ups and agencies particularly prone to high workloads and an “always on” work mentality, it is these sectors that can be particularly prone to workplace stress.
According to a separate study, 1 million workers never take a lunch break, which when viewed together with the previous study points to a picture of employees struggling to keep up with the demands of the workplace.
So what can be done to reduce stress in the workplace and create a desirable atmosphere for new recruits that can set you apart and help attract the top talent?
We’re surrounded by communication tools – email, internal communication platforms, mobile phones, WhatsApp, but none of this can really get to the bottom of an issue like 1 to 1 communication. Tools such as performance reviews and appraisals are increasingly being advertised by recruiters as something that distinguishes companies from their competitors. By giving employees the opportunity to air their grievances and highlight areas that aren’t working properly, it creates a much better working environment. This could be a key area to promote if you’re looking to promote your company to candidates as one that promotes employee wellbeing.
It’s something that is trumpeted by most companies, especially in the marketing and creative sectors, but creating a workplace that people look forward to going to in the morning is crucial for staff wellbeing. Instead of just using it as a recruitment tool, look at how you can inject activities such as summer barbeques and regular socials into the workplace, improving team relationships and giving people the opportunity to let off some steam.
This is another area that is increasingly being sought by top candidates. The ability to adapt your work life to meet the needs of your personal life is not only hugely practical, it goes a long way towards reducing workplace stress. It should however be carefully managed, as the “always on” mentality can be worse when people are taking their work home, so ensure that people that are working flexibly aren’t doing too much.
Workplace stress is something that affects a lot of people and with the right processes in place, it can not only be reduced but create a working atmosphere that is highly sought after by candidates, helping you fill the positions you have open and reduce the rate of people leaving the company.