Main Content

Back to Blog List

  • 31 December 2015
  • Eric Michaels

This new year, resolve to keep employees more productive and less stressed

When you consider ways to make your business better in the New Year, think about your approach as the manager of your team. Have you been putting pressure on employees in hopes of increasing productivity? If so, know that this strategy often backfires. This year, resolve to limit stress in the workplace to maximize productivity.

Stress is the enemy
Research has shown that stress actually reduces productivity. Towers Watson completed a study in 2014 confirming that those who felt stressed in the workplace produced far less than those who reported feeling less job pressure. Further findings showed just how damaging stress can be:

  • Of those who reported high stress levels, 57 percent said they did not engage in the workplace and were more likely to miss work or to work at low productivity levels.
  • In contrast, only 10 percent of employees with low stress levels reported being disengaged.
  • Stressed employees took an average of 4.6 sick days per year, compared to 2.6 sick days for those who were not stressed.
  • Highly stressed employees reported attending work but achieving little while there approximately 16 days per year, nearly twice as much as those who were less stressed.

A better system in the New Year
There are many characteristics that great bosses demonstrate and as a small business owner, knowing how to motivate your employees without applying undo pressure should be near the top of the list.

Finding the sweet spot between motivating and whip-cracking can be tricky, but one key is improving the company culture. For example, when employees commute to work from afar, the stress they incur from battling traffic or waiting for a late arriving bus or train could affect productivity, especially early in the day. Forming carpools for employees coming from the same area may alleviate some of this pressure. You might also want to consider offering flexible hours, so employees have the option to take their time getting to work and then make up for it by working past normal quitting times.

Other areas of stress revolve around family obligations. Get to know your workforce and their family situations and make allowances for those who have responsibilities (such as small children) that sometimes intrude on their work lives. If you are open to having employees occasionally work from home, you might find them coming to work grateful, less stressed, and more focused on their job because they know that their family obligations have been taken care of. Often, small shifts like this in company policy are all it takes to take the pressure off and reap big rewards.

Finally, if your budget allows, bringing in additional staff or turning to outsourcing for accounting, copywriting, or other areas that support your core offerings should help in keeping stress levels down so you can gain better productivity from your employees in 2016.

Back to Blog List