Reduce Stress to Make Better Decisions

By Dawna Jones

Organizations are communities of people working together. When an organization is under pressure and/or stress and not doing well, the people in it are impacted. People under stress make poor decisions. It’s not their fault. Stress occurs when high demands are combined with low levels of personal control over those demands.

As you can guess, the more control employees have in responding to changing circumstances, the better. Yet companies that stick rigidly to the status quo without adjusting to changing circumstances unknowingly increase pressure on employees.

Companies that demand creativity and innovation while simultaneously ignoring unhealthy working environments compromise results. People can’t create when they are barely coping.

The costs of not taking action to create better workplaces are high. In the U.S., the cost is estimated to be over $300 billion per year. In the U.K., the estimated annual cost is £13 billion. Steps taken to bring the workplace into a better state pay off in well-being for employees and reduced costs to business through productivity loss and direct savings in health benefits.

The mantra in business is that what gets measured gets managed. If you want to keep a better eye on the health of your workplace, measure the costs attributed to absenteeism, depression, aggression, and so on. The direct costs indicate the state of your company’s health and the size of the problem.

Indirect costs, which are harder to measure but have a high impact, include having employees who show up for work but function below their normal level of productivity. The costs to business from this source is estimated to be considerably higher than those attributed to stress.

To identify the degree to which performance is suffering, look for the following indicators:

  • Poor performance

  • Anxiety

  • Fatigue

  • Problems sleeping

  • Headaches

  • Digestion issues

  • Substance abuse or other addictions

Every small step you take to increase care, mutual support, and sense of belonging is a big step toward improving conditions.