Human Resources Blog - Spark Hire

Combating Common Employee Stress for Better Company Culture

Let’s get real: work is stressful. All jobs come with their fair share of stressful situations, tough projects, and annoying coworkers. You might not want to admit it because you’re convinced you have the best company culture in the world, but your employees are stressed out. Some of them are even stressing right now.

So how do you foster a positive company culture and improve employee morale? Well, the first step is to take stock of just what is ailing your employees. Recently, Harris Interactive conducted a work stress survey for Everest College, showing the most common forms of stress on the job. Surprisingly in this tough economic time, the fear of being laid off dropped down from 9 to 4 percent.

The other stressors, however, will be all too familiar to anyone who has spent time in the workforce. With a huge 73 percent of the workforce feeling under the gun, it’s time to look at how your company can address these common forms of office aggravation.

Here are some of the most common things causing your employees stress and how to combat these foes for better company culture and happier employees:

Low Pay
It’s no secret your employees are at your company to get paid. Workers might have clear passion and enthusiasm for the work, but they also have bills to pay and often mouths to feed. This is why 11 percent or workers cite low pay as a source of career stress. When your workers aren’t paid what they deserve, this can be a real hit to employee morale. Unhappy employees are also less productive employees, which is why a positive company culture is so important for your organization. Make sure to pay employees what they’re really worth, and you’ll have happier and more loyal workers.

Annoying Coworkers
Ten percent of workers surveyed said annoying coworkers lead to more stress in their everyday work lives. There’s little you can do about personality differences in the workplace. After all, you’re hiring the best people for the job — and those people aren’t always going to have meshing personalities. However, you need to make sure your team can work together effectively and professionally to finish projects and attain goals.

Maybe you need to invest in some outside the office outings in order to get employees all on the same page. You need to communicate to your workers how important team building is for them to succeed. Not everyone will always get along, but professionalism will go a long way toward reducing stress and making communication more seamless in your office.

No one likes a long commute, so it’s no wonder nine percent of workers cited their trek into work as a stress factor. Whether the commuting is done in a car or on public transportation, the longer the hike the more stress employees are likely to have. Your company should acknowledge this and work to defer some of this commuting.

Perhaps allow workers to put in their 9-to-5 from home one day each week. Working virtually could be a big boost to employee morale, while showing employees your company trusts their judgement and ability to act independently.

Unreasonable Workload
You might think a heavy workload shows how much faith you have in your superstar employees. After all, you’re trusting them with a whole lot of responsibility. But a huge workload is also a huge source of stress for your workers. In fact, nine percent of workers are stressed out by the amount you’re asking them to accomplish.

Look critically at everyone’s tasks and make sure you haven’t burdened your best workers with the hardest jobs. Spread the projects and responsibilities around your whole team so you don’t burn out your best players. Besides, when you give someone else a chance, you might be discovering another superstar worker in your midst.

Lack of Career Path
Employees want to know there’s a future for them at your company. A full eight percent of workers find it stressful to be in a job not located on their chosen career path. This is why it’s extremely important to allow your workers to see the career paths available to the talented and diligent. Give your employees the opportunity for increased learning and professional development so they can continue along their career path with confidence. Most of all, giving workers a path to travel in your organization will keep more talent within your walls instead of looking for better opportunities with your competition.

Stress is unfortunately an unavoidable part of life, especially life in the office. This doesn’t mean you should ignore trying to do something about it, however! Trying to combat the common causes of employee stress is an easy way for happier workers and a better company culture.

What are some common causes of stress in your workplace and how do you combat them? Share in the comments!

IMAGE: Courtesy of Flickr by Alan Cleaver

Heather Huhman

Heather R. Huhman is the Career & Recruiting Advisor for Spark Hire. She writes career and recruiting advice for numerous outlets, and is the author of Lies, Damned Lies & Internships: The Truth About Getting from Classroom to Cubicle (2011), and #ENTRYLEVELtweet: Taking Your Career from Classroom to Cubicle (2010).