You’ve worked hard to get where you are, and you expect the same of your employees. But at some point, hard work can become overwork. And overworking can become overwhelming.
If your team is constantly putting in extra work and hours, you will eventually start to feel it in your bottom line. But not in a good way.
Is your culture ruining your employees?
Companies often use words like disruptive, innovative, and revolutionary to describe their product, service, or business model. And many business leaders have come to view these qualities as universally positive. But let’s think about it from an employee perspective.
How many people genuinely look forward to spending extended work days engulfed in disruption, navigating constant change, or leading a revolution? These things are fine in short bursts, but over the long-term, they can be exhausting. They can also lead to decreased productivity and increased burnout.
Of course, you want your employees to be excited about their work and committed to their teams. But that doesn’t mean they need to live and breathe these things 24 hours a day.
Your best employees aren’t necessarily the ones hyped up on energy drinks, working back to back shifts, and staying up all night. While they may appear to be overachievers, they could actually be wasting company time, money, and resources.
Workplace stress is real
It can also be very expensive.
When people are overworked and stressed out, they are more likely to develop physical and mental health issues. Many stress-related health problems can take your employees out of the workforce completely. And when they do show up, they’re more likely to be distracted and make mistakes.
A few quick facts about workplace stress:
- 83% of people reported being stressed out by work.
- 63% of employees don’t feel like their employers provide sufficient resources to help them manage stress
- The number of people who reported experiencing “extreme stress” jumped from 18% to 24% in just two years
So how do you make sure your employees are working hard but not burning out?
Start looking for it
If you tell yourself everything is fine, that’s exactly what you’ll believe. But, as with most problems, recognizing workplace burn out is half the battle.
Look for subtle signs and symptoms and check in with your team to assess levels of stress within the organization.
Evaluate potential causes of burnout, such as:
- Excessive workloads
- Outdated technology
- Poor communication
- Workplace conflict
- Unhappy co-workers
- Toxic clients
Be aware of these common symptoms:
- Accidents and mistakes
- Missed deadlines, goals, and numbers
- Employee disengagement and turnover
- Issues with absenteeism and/or presenteeism
- Increasing chronic illnesses and accommodation needs
If you’re not comfortable diagnosing workplace stress yourself, you can always go directly to your employees for help.
Conduct an anonymous staff survey to see how company expectations match up with employee expectations. And where they don’t.
Don’t ignore it
Once you’ve determined you have a problem and identified your causes and symptoms, work quickly to find and implement solutions.
Ignoring these things might seem easier in the short term, but letting issues simmer under the surface creates a breeding ground for increased tension and potential blow ups. If you really want your staff to achieve balance, you can’t just talk about it. At some point, you need to give them the tools to make it happen.
Lead by example
If you tell your people they should strive for a manageable schedule and a healthy work/life balance, but your leadership team is working 12 hours a day and rewarding employees who do the same, no one is going to believe you really mean it.
Stress is stress, no matter who you are and what your title is. Don’t work yourself to a place where you’re no longer able to give your best. This isn’t serving anyone, and it’s setting the wrong example.
Check in with yourself:
- Have you fallen prey to the 24/7 mentality?
- Do you find it hard to focus and/or concentrate?
- Are deadlines being missed? Are things slipping through the cracks?
- Do you feel exhausted, worn out, agitated, emotional, uninspired, or hopeless?
If you answered yes to one or more of these questions, you could be craving more flexibility, rest, and balance. Perhaps it’s time to recalibrate by resetting your expectations and making some positive, healthy changes. Reducing your own stress will naturally reduce the stress of your team.
And when your team is healthy and happy, your bottom line will be as well.
Recruiting and retaining employees is easier when you can offer a comprehensive benefits plan that makes your team members feel as valuable as they are. At Combined, we build cost effective, long-lasting employee benefits strategies to keep your business and your employees in optimum health.