PEO Horizon: A Publication of
Work-Related Stress
Within a six-month span, three engineers at a French automaker committed suicide. Suicide notes and conversations with the employees’ loved ones revealed their anxiety about overwork, exhaustion, high-pressure management tactics and scathing criticism in front of colleagues.
Stress is a part of being human. It’s what motivates us to work – sometimes at our highest creativity level or with the most concentrated focus. Stress is an everyday fixture in the workplace, and no doubt the average employee suffers from it as a result of his job duties. However, can work-related stress affect your productivity and the goals you set for your business?
Although the tragedy at the French automaker is not necessarily reflective of the daily trials and tribulations of workplace stress, the relentlessly competitive employment landscape is a reality. The stress that simmers beneath the results-oriented ethos of the workplace can be detrimental to company morale and the general happiness of your employees.  
You can make several small changes to your business to make sure that company stress does not hinder your productivity. For example, advise your managers and supervisors to create a forum that facilitates upfront communication and a culture of listening. Rather than receiving complaints via e-mail or instant message, invite employees to report problems in a face-to-face conference. Make sure it is emphasized why verbal communication is crucial. Then, encourage your employees to voice their concerns to each other. Idle chat is okay if it can build rapport for situations that require team problem solving.
You should assume that your employees are eager to please you. Therefore, your reactions to the inevitable flubs, slip-ups and even their failures must avert their anxiety rather than making it worse. Caution your supervisors and managers about dolling out negative feedback, because workers are more likely to place inward focus on their mistakes rather than their accomplishments. 
Many employers today provide a wide range of personalized services for their employees to cope with stress. Some companies will even require that every employee indicate upfront all personal responsibilities and commitments, and then arrange work tasks and hours around those prior duties. You can make various services available:
  • Massage appointments
  • Haircuts & styling
  • Car wash
  • Car service (i.e. oil change)
  • Company picnics & social events
  • Common areas for relaxation & socialization

Be creative and cost-effective as you purge your business of debilitating stress. You can still expect that your employees will achieve lofty performance goals. The key is to establish milestones of progress that are reasonably attainable (in addition to those that stretch their capabilities), so that your workers are not feeling set-up for inevitable failure. By working together with your employees to reduce stress as they are reaching the pre-set milestones you’ve established, you will open their eyes to the importance of making a difference for your clients and thus the ultimate success of your business. 
A qualified PEO can help reduce your employee’s stress at work and your own as well, allowing you to get back to the business of running your business. It is after all, what you do best and the reason behind your success. For more information go to