Is Your Workforce Feeling Stress Working From Home? Here is How You Can Mitigate Workplace Stress as an Employer

What is Stress? 

Stress can most simply be defined as our body’s reaction to any environmental change. These reactions can be physical, emotional, or mental. When we think of stress itself, we often think of it as a harmful component of our lives. However, stress can be positive as well, and it’s a normal part of everyone’s life. Positive stress can initiate motivation, desire, and alertness. Stress becomes a negative aspect when someone is continuously faced with challenges or hardships and is not granted relief. With that said, this article will focus on the causes and remedies of negative stress in the workplace, as well as the associated health and safety impacts. 


Sources of Stress in the Workplace 

Since factors affecting the level of stress that an individual is feeling are variable and completely situation-dependent, it is difficult to pinpoint one singular cause of stress. However, we have put together a list of sources that have been known to increase stress levels amongst employees.  

The type of assignment and context of the task will have a significant impact. These factors encompass how heavy the workload is, how much time is granted to complete the job, whether or not an employee feels valued at their workplace, how connected or isolated an employee is at the office, the decision-making capabilities a worker is given, and the overall relevance of the task at hand. 

A worker’s position within the company will also have an impact on their stress levels. Employees in managerial and supervisory positions will likely be required to deal with more conflicts and a broad spectrum of duties. Furthermore, with more responsibility likely comes increased pressure regarding decision making and longer, more demanding working hours. 

How an organization is structured, including the level of communication, performance recognition, and employee engagement, also plays a considerable role in how stressed employees are. Failure to involve employees in key decision-making processes can create feelings of unfairness, lack of support, and lost control, which contributes to increased stress levels at work.  

The perceived level of safety at the workplace is an additional contributing factor. The extent to which employees are exposed to hazardous or dangerous conditions at work directly correlates to their stress level. Undesirable conditions can include anything from ergonomic hazards, loud noises, or offensive smells to the presence of dangerous gases or flammable materials. If an employee feels that their safety or comfort is being compromised, their stress will naturally increase. 

The last factor that I would like to discuss is job satisfaction. Fear of unemployment or job loss is a huge creator of stress. This could stem from increasing automation and machine learning that has the potential to displace some workers. If an employee feels that they do not have significant growth and development opportunities, this could negatively impact the amount of stress felt as well.  


How Stress Affects Worker Health and Safety 

Prevalent or continuous stress can result in distress, which can have serious negative impacts on our health. Typical symptoms of excessive stress include headaches, fatigue, muscle pain or tension, higher blood pressure, increased heart rate, chest pain, upset stomach, heightened cholesterol, weight loss or gain, and a compromised immune system. These symptoms are only physical, but stress can have negative consequences for our mental health, as well. Instances of forgetfulness, anxiety, depression, carelessness, or anger may become increasingly more common.  

When working from home, the line between your personal and professional life can become increasingly blurred, which can make it difficult to “turn off” and relax. To maintain your emotional and physical well-being while practicing social distancing, here are some additional tips on our previous blog article to keep your two worlds balanced.


How Employers Can Mitigate Workplace Stress 

Given the extremely unfavorable outcomes of stress in the workplace, it is worthwhile for an organization to understand the steps it can take to reduce stress for employees. First and foremost, employers need to identify and evaluate potential sources of stress in their workplace to take mitigation seriously. Companies should continuously treat workers fairly and respectfully, always keeping a close eye on symptoms and warning signs of stress. Ensuring that staff is adequately prepared to perform their duties is essential. This can be done through proper training and available support systems. It is also important to make sure that job hours and expectations are reasonable. One of the primary sources of stress for employees stems from unattainable deadlines, unreasonable hours, or unclear duties. Lines of communication must also be kept open, as well as allowing for regular involvement of employees in decision-making processes. Lastly, establishing an evident appreciation for your employees is essential. Health and wellness programs show employees that they are valued and that their mental and physical health is critical to the organization. Direct input from employees via surveys or questionnaires can provide useful feedback about the current state of your workplace. 


Managing Personal Stress 

In addition to steps that employers can take to help cultivate a reduced-stress work environment, it is important to discuss ways that employees can mitigate stress personally. A healthy work-life balance is something that most individuals in the workforce struggle to find. In general, a healthy work-life balance entails working reasonable hours and prioritizing other aspects of your life – not just your job. A balance helps to lower the chance of becoming burnt out and reduces stress while playing a large part in cultivating a healthy work environment. Furthermore, employees need to be clear on task duties so that they know exactly what is expected of them. Staying organized and planning ahead of time is also important. This will help with time management and reduce the need to multi-task – which can be stressful! Outside of the workplace, maintaining physical health by exercising regularly and eating a well-balanced diet is advantageous. Cultivating and nourishing your mental health will aid in minimizing stress and will benefit you greatly in your workforce.   If you are working from home here are best practices you can implement to your daily routine.

  

Supporting Our Community

How We’re Working for You During COVID-19

As you well know, the COVID-19 pandemic has escalated. Firstly, our thoughts go out to everyone already impacted by the disease. We appreciate all citizens’ and organizations’ efforts to self-isolate and “flatten the curve.” We also want to especially thank the healthcare workers and essential services workers on the front lines making a difference. As a result of your inspiring effort, we are now offering our SafetyLine Lone Worker monitoring service, for the next 3 months to new subscribers: Continue Reading…

Are Work From Home Jobs Considered Lone Workers?

To slow the spread of COVID-19, restaurants, bars, and public spaces have closed throughout Canada. Following suit, offices have also shut their doors and implemented mandatory work-from-home policies to support self-isolation and social distancing mandates. For many employers and employees, this is a novel concept that requires significant adjustment. Although the transition for some industries may be seamless, other organizations will face significant challenges along the way. As Canada’s workforce shifts from office to working from home, all companies are faced with a new challenge –how to protect their staff who may now be working remotely or alone. Continue Reading…

How To Protect Your Employees Working From Home Alone During The Coronavirus Pandemic

working at height with safetyline lone worker

With the COVID-19 virus spreading across the entire globe, more of your team members are going to have to work at home and in many cases, alone. But because you’re not sharing an office with these workers, it doesn’t mean that you can’t protect your team:

Continue Reading…

The Importance of Self-Care When Social Distancing and Working From Home

A man walking his dog, managing his physical wellbeing while working from home.

When working from home, the line between your personal and professional life can become increasingly blurred, which can make it difficult to “turn off” and relax. To maintain your emotional and physical well-being while practicing social distancing, here are some tips to keep your two worlds balanced. 

Continue Reading…

How To Manage Your Employees Working Remotely (Working From Home) During The Coronavirus

A well-lit home office that can help manage your employees, utilizing different types of technology and networks while working from home.

With today’s far-reaching technology and many online networks, it’s fairly easy to manage people working remotely. Here are some simple tips for doing so: 

Continue Reading…

Increase Productivity While Working From Home Office

A dark home office where you can increase productivity and be comfortable while working from home with a proper workstation.

Due to the spread of COVID-19 throughout the country, most Canadian employers have implemented mandatory work-from-home policies. This standard is widely spreading, making working from home the new norm. A novel concept to many industries, one of the first steps to making the transition to setup a productive work-from-home office. 

Continue Reading…

Working From Home Tips During the Coronavirus from SafetyLine Lone Worker

A bright home office with a comfortable chair, pillow, and desk while working from home.

COVID-19 (Coronavirus) in British Columbia, Canada

On March 16, 2020, the provincial health officer of British Columbia, Dr. Bonnie Henry announced aggressive measures in response to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic, a growing number of business across British Columbia and the country of Canada are opting for working from home to help control the spread of the virus. Dr. Henry also said there were three deaths in BC (from an outbreak at a care home in North Vancouver), bringing the total number of nationwide deaths from the coronavirus to four. More alarmingly, Canada’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Theresa Tam said the total number of novel coronavirus cases in Canada stands at 407, up from 324 reported earlier in the day. Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Canada is closing its borders until further notice to most national with the exception of Canadian citizens and permanent residents to return home.  The Prime Minister said that the country would be taking “increasingly aggressive steps” to keep everyone safe.   

Continue Reading

Work From Home Safely during Coronavirus

An employee washing their hands with soap to protect themselves and others from COVID-19 or coronavirus.

Keeping COVID-19 Out of Your Workplace  

As of March 11, COVID-19 coronavirus has infected more than 120,000 people globally and killed close to 5,000. This morning, the World Health Organization declared the rapidly spreading virus as a pandemic, which, according to their site, is a “worldwide spread of a new disease.”   

While only microscopic in size, this virus can leave you bed-ridden with symptoms including coughs, fever and breathing difficulties. But if it gets worse, it can lead to viral pneumonia and Continue Reading…

Don’t slip-up at work and not use fall detection

A misstep on a ladder at an oil site. A trip while getting off the tractor. Or, a simple slip on a small chemical spill. All of these common occurrences can lead to injuries that not only make you unable to work but could lead to a visit to the local emergency room. 

Did you know that in a 2018 report from the Canadian Institute for Health Information, researchers found that in 2016 and 2017, there were more than 650, 000 visits to emergency departments because of injuries from falls with many occurring in the workplace? And according to Stats Canada, the most common type of workplace injury is…you guessed it – falls. In this blog article, we cover fall detection devices and Continue Reading…