Pressing deadlines, intense presentations, long meetings, and annoying coworkers. Life at work can be a daunting routine every single day. Add to these the personal issues that, no matter how much you try to put aside, will always find their way to distract your mind at work.
Employees are not just numbers. They are humans with skills and emotions. Thus, part of being a good employer is to identify signs and symptoms of stressed out team members and do something about it. Without proper care, chronic stress may lead to more severe conditions like mental health problems and cardiovascular diseases.
Pay keen attention to stress the moment it strikes by looking out for these telltale signs.
1. Shying Away
There are introverts and there are the office chatterboxes?—in a delightful way. If someone who used to be so outgoing and perky suddenly decides to lie low and shy away from interacting with colleagues, it may be a cause of concern. Stressed people tend to isolate themselves to avoid drawing attention to themselves, or they’re just too demotivated to converse like they regularly would.
2. Low Productivity
Stress and anxiety may cause a drop in productivity in the workplace. When someone isn’t a hundred percent focused, tasks may be dragged on, deadlines may be missed, and mistakes may happen due to lack of attention to detail. Forgetting to-dos and falling short on the expected outputs may be caused by memory lapse, which may be a manifestation of stress.
3. Tardiness and Absenteeism
Stress can take a mental and physical toll on anyone. This will result in dragging one’s self to work, resulting in tardiness, or calling in sick altogether. One out of six workers will go through anxiety, depression, and other problems relating to stress, which can be one of the reasons behind work absences.
Watch out for an employee who often shows up late or who always requests for time off. Don’t be quick in judging it’s merely laziness; it may be something serious.
4. Resorting to Drugs
Several drugs are used to reduce stress and anxiety. These are helpful with the proper medical guidelines. But this may also give you a clue about the condition of a certain employee. Even if they’re able to pass a drug test, still pay close attention, and be open to discussing options that may help in relieving a team member’s stress.
5. Visibly Tired and Unkept Physical Appearance
Everyone wants to look sharp at work, but for someone who’s stressed, looking good may end up being the least priority. Watch out for individuals whose hair looks unkempt, clothes are abnormally wrinkled, and whose physical appearance screams help.
Being and looking tired is normal, especially on Mondays, but you can tell if someone simply didn’t get enough sleep or is just hungover from having too much fun. It’s also different if someone is on the verge of going over the edge.
6. Being Emotional and Moody
While an office is a place of work, it’s also a place for socializing, which may include jokes and playful debates. But these things won’t feel so funny for people going through something.
For instance, what used to be just a passing comment on performance may come off as upsetting to someone experiencing stress. Look out for ones who seem to be overly emotional and moody, including those who appear easily nervous and irritable, as these may be subtle hints of stress.
7. Working Overtime
Model employees are usually the ones who go above and beyond to accomplish something. But over-dedication or working beyond office hours and even during breaks may mean stressing out, especially from members who don’t usually do that. They may be struggling with their workload and need more guidance.
How to Help
Stress can come in different forms for different people. Depending on what it results in, it may be detrimental to a company’s profitability and productivity.
It is the employer’s job to not only keep a company running but to also mind the welfare of its people. Therefore, stress should be discussed and addressed. It could be a casual yet informative group discussion or a one on one.
Help in reducing workplace stress by promoting the benefits of exercise, sports, and other physical activities, by encouraging regular breaks, and by advocating a healthy diet.