Jenna Goudreau wrote an interesting article in the August 6th issue of BusinessWeek on stress in the workplace. I was particularly impressed with the way in which one organization handled an overworked and stressed out manager. Based on the amount of time that he was working, the organization proactively stepped in to offer some assistance. Unfortunately, most organizations are not proactive when it comes to worker stress. Instead they tend to react only after there is a major, and sometimes (very regrettably) deadly, circumstances.
It is easy for a leadership team to only focus on bottom-line results, but through taking steps to reduce stress, they could greatly improve the overall efficiency of the organization. Think of all of the colleagues who we have lost due to feeling completely and totally overwhelmed. More often than not, they have brought the issue to the attention of their superiors, but the issue was never addressed. This, as we know, leads to the employee leaving the organization. If you think hard, you can probably think of two or three colleagues who currently fit this description.
Many companies start out by helping employees repair the work-life balance. General Mills (GIS ) provides a range of personalized services while employees at headquarters work so they can spend more time recharging with their families and less time running errands on the weekends. Want your hair colored? An in-house stylist will do it. Car need an oil change? A mechanic will do it on your lunch break.
Given the amount of time that employees spend working – being on call nearly 24 hours a day – providing services to employees to allow them more time to unwind with family and friends in non-work hours is a major step in the right direction. But, so is listening to employees, and providing them with the assistance that they need. As the article stated, sometimes it is as simple as additional headcount.