Every company strives to have a happy, healthy and productive workforce, and yet many times the companies themselves are creating the stress that results in the opposite. A dip in productivity can cost a company, and so eliminating workplace stress triggers is an important goal. After all, stressed-out workers are more apt to call in sick and have health problems, which can cost a company big time. Consider this:  The American Institute of Stress found job stress costs businesses across the country more than $300 billion a year.

Recognize the Signs Excessive Workplace Stress

In the current economy, companies of all sizes have worked hard to claw their way back, often doing more with less, and employees have paid the price. With increased workloads, more requirements and extended work hours, it’s easy for employees to get burned out. That will quickly breed resentment and low morale which can be infectious if the company does nothing. But if the company recognizes the signs that employees are being overworked, they can step in, pull back and give workers a break. That will not only improve the health and wellness of their employees, but it will also show employees that their employers care, which can boost morale.

Provide Ways for Employees to Blow Off Steam

One of the worst things a company of any size can do is ignore signs their employees are stressed. Ignoring signs of stress can result in an employee who blows his or her fuse and acts out or worse creates an unsafe environment for his or her co-workers. In order to keep stress in check, employers can provide outlets for their staff to blow off steam. That could mean a free yoga class, a break outside the office or flex time so that employees can get things done and not feel so much pressure.

Create an Open and Collaborative Environment

Bullying doesn’t go away when we graduate high school. Bullying in the workplace is common and can have a lasting impact on the morale of an organization. If a company ignores complaints of workplace bullying or harassment , that will result in very unhappy and unproductive employees. Not to mention it could set the company up for an expensive lawsuit. To prevent that stress, employers have to understand that bullying in the office does exist and then make sure they foster an environment where everyone can speak up and collaborate. Both managers and employees have to know the definition of workplace bullying and the channels they have to get help. The last thing a company wants to do is be dismissive of an employee’s complaints regardless of how low on the totem pole they are coming from.

Eliminate Uncertainty About the Business

Rumors have a nasty tendency to spread quickly and cause stress, especially if they are about layoffs, closing businesses or changes in the company direction. Companies that keep a closed-mouth policy when it comes to keeping employees abreast of the strategic direction will quickly create stress among their ranks. That will reduce morale, cause people to leave and hurt productivity. A better option is to keep employees in the loop. That could mean holding town-hall meetings, providing quarterly updates and having an open-door policy that encourages workers to ask managers any questions they may have. Companies should never create an environment where whistleblower aren’t welcome.

The Bottom Line

Lost productivity is a big cost for companies of all sizes, but it is something that can easily be avoided. While people stress out for a lot of different reasons, if it is the direct result of work, then it is the company that is failing its employees. Not recognizing the signs employees are overworked, turning a blind eye to workplace bullying and creating an environment where employees are kept in the dark will create stress that will have a direct impact on a company’s bottom line.