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.

  

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 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: 

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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. 

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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.   

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Satellite Devices and the Safety Benefits of a Garmin Professional Account

Unlock the Potential of Your Garmin Satellite Device

Have you switched to a Garmin Professional Account? If you haven’t done so, you are missing out on some valuable features SafetyLine offers with the Garmin Professional Account.  SafetyLine Lone worker is now fully integrated with Garmin Ltd., one of the world’s premier GPS technology companies that has been keeping people connected since 1989.  

By switching to a Garmin Professional subscription, you can take advantage of Continue Reading…

Lone Worker Risks in the Canadian Forestry Sector

When it comes to our Canadian economy, the forestry industry provides a substantial source of wealth for the country. Our forestry trade balance (the difference between what we import and what we export to international partners) accounts for $19.8 billion of Canada’s GDP, according to the Government of Canada. This is equivalent to about 2% and represents the most substantial forest product trade balance in the world. We have held this position for years, and the gap between Canada and Sweden (the second-largest net trader) has been Continue Reading…

A Spotlight on Safety in the Entertainment Industry

Entertainment Industry - SafetyLine Lone Worker

The Local Entertainment Industry 

Vancouver’s entertainment industry saw over 450 productions last year and generated close to $3.4 billion for the local economy. This figure represents a considerable increase from $2.3 billion in 2017. Furthermore, the industry provided jobs for over 60,000 people. BC’s film industry is home to more than 200 producers and over 250 businesses that primarily cater to motion picture production. Prem Gill, CEO of Creative BC, stated that film companies within BC are “delivering the world’s highest quality content” thanks to world-class talent, industry-leading skills, and substantial infrastructure. Continue Reading…

Complying with Safety Regulations for Lone Workers in Alberta

Many companies who do not provide unique support for their lone workers have a difficult time adhering to working alone legislations. A common assumption is that their safety programs are already acceptable. Furthermore, other businesses might already have distinct programs for employees who work alone but find that their current procedures and policies negatively impact productivity. In this article, we will discuss methods for Continue Reading…

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The statistics regarding workplace injuries and fatalities in Canada are baffling. According to the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety, there were 951 workplace fatalities recorded in 2017 with an additional 251,508 injuries which took place on the job. An employer must manage the safety and health of his or her employees and thus minimize the number of incidents that occur in the workplace. Continue Reading…