Posted by: manjitsandhu | June 1, 2011

Does Stress Really Destroy Employee Morale?

Extreme amounts of stress in the work place can easily destroy morale.   Different individuals will handle significant stress in a variety of ways.  Some thrive as more and more is piled onto their shoulders for them to fight against. Others will crumble under the heavy weight additional stress brings them.  The type of work environment normally present is also an important factor: a normally stress-free environment can quickly become a morass when high stress circumstances arise.

Managing employees effectively can be a daunting task for any supervisor.  It is critical for a supervisor to manage stress effectively in order that they may monitor and help employees.  Of course, some stress during the regular workday is normal, but the need — real or perceived — to produce quality work on time and effectively can weigh heavily on employees as they complete their duties.  With little or no warning, stress can become such a heavy burden that it begins to demoralize or even incapacitate employees.
Fortunately, stress indicators abound for the observant manager.  Absenteeism is a common problem as individuals begin to value their peace of mind over the need for a full paycheck. This can also include increased use of sick and personal time for no apparent reason. Breaks and lunches may become stretched further and further as the individual begins to care less about responsibility and more about minimizing negative feelings or depression.

When identified in many employees, as opposed to just one or two, these indicators suggest a company-wide, spiraling problem.  Negativity begets negativity, and managers can expect to see serious morale issues will be exhibited across several employees.
Active, anticipatory management can help to reduce the negative impact of stress in the work place. When stress indicators surface, supervisors quickly can begin identifying the source of the problem.  Encouraging an active open door environment will allow employees to approach managers about problems or issues that have arisen in the workplace.
Any decrease of employee morale must be addressed quickly; unanswered, morale problems will cause drastic problems for the company over both the short and long-term. Ultimately, the company will end up  spend more money replacing employees than on correcting the stress factors, and easing extra stressors that are not part of the normal job. Setting aside a company’s obligations to employees, studies demonstrate happy workers not only perform better but miss less work during the work year, leading to added productivity and profitability for the company.

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Manjit Sandhu


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