Employee wellbeing has been a priority for effective leaders for some time. But no one was expecting the extra complications that a worldwide pandemic would bring. For the global workforce, this has meant dealing with new triggers of stress, as well as the exacerbation of existing work stresses.
The American Psychological Association’s 2021 Work & Well-being Survey showed that 79% of employees had experienced stress in the month prior to the survey. It’s no secret that stressed employees lead to lower productivity, higher rates of attrition, and often experience a detrimental effect on their personal and family lives. So how can you spot a stressed team member, particularly in the new world of hybrid and remote working? And what can you do to help them?
Typical causes of employee stress include:
- workload demands
- lack of autonomy over the work they do, the way they do it and working hours
- lack of support – including encouragement, flexibility and mentoring
- not understanding their role within the organisation.
- poor communication of organisational change, whether large or small
- feeling isolated while working remotely
Here are some things to look out for…
Universal signs of stress
Whether your team is remote or working in the office, there are some signs of stress that anyone can show. These include more sick days, missing meetings and deadlines, taking out stress on others, and missing in-person and online socials. Someone repeatedly asking the same questions is also a sign of stress; they may be struggling to engage with their role, or their concentration, confidence or memory are being affected. People suffering with stress tend not to process logic or facts as quickly as usual.
Changes in behaviour
It’s crucial to keep an eye out for any changes in typical behaviour in a team mate. They may not obviously indicate stress in themselves, but can be a sign of stress or burnout. For example, talkative people go quiet; speedy responders become slow to get back to you.
You may have introverts on your team who are more comfortable – and more likely to join a meeting – if they can keep their camera off. However, if a team member used to regularly have their camera on – but now doesn’t – this can be a sign of stress or becoming disengaged. If you’re a manager, try and make sure that you see your remote working team members on camera at least once a fortnight.
And remember that you won’t have a benchmark for team members who joined during the pandemic of their typical workplace behaviour, so it might be worth checking in directly with them and asking about their stress levels.
So, what can you do?
Understanding what is causing the stress is, of course, the first step to reducing and resolving it.
- Give your team members an open forum to discuss their issues and feelings, either as individuals or the whole team, as stress can sometimes manifest at team level.
- Make sure that employees are given the time and opportunity to talk. Asking open questions can help facilitate a good discussion and make people feel comfortable sharing what’s really the matter.
- Be careful not to compare their experiences to your own, or to others who appear to be dealing with the same issues more effectively.
- Have regular updates and communication with your team about any changes, the objectives of the company and how each employee’s role contributes directly to them. Transparency is essential: no matter how large or small change is within an organisation, it can be disconcerting if employees don’t have total clarity. The rumour mill can go into overdrive.
- Once you’ve established the causes and extent of stress, make sure that you don’t overpromise on what you can deliver as solutions. Manage expectations to ensure they’re realistic about what can be done and the timescales needed.
Kalido can help you to…
Ensure your people are being utilised in the right way
Through rich Profiles, Kalido can help you to understand the true Skills picture of each person on your team or organisation. This will help you to make sure they’re using their key Skills in the right way and that their roles have enough scope to avoid boredom or stagnation that can cause stress.
Understand the interests of your wider team
People can add as many Interests as they like to their Kalido Profiles to help build a true personal and professional picture of themselves. Understanding the Interests of your wider team can help you to create team socials that truly engage your team. Encouraging team members to join or start Group Chats or Channels on the topics that interest them most is also great for team bonding. It’s really easy on Kalido as individuals can see who in their Networks share their Interests and can immediately start communicating with them.
Communicate more effectively
Through Direct Chats, Group Chats and Channels, Kalido has all the collaboration tools you need on one platform. This gives you options for easy ways to check in without overburdening your team members or taking up time and adding more stress. Team members can also find and connect with their colleagues, wherever they’re working in the world, encouraging team bonding and helping to avoid the stress of isolation.
Kalido can help your team find mentors for support, encouragement and career development. Users can also build a Skills wishlist: these are Skills which the individual wants to acquire in order to grow their career – Kalido can suggest what these desirable Skills might be and also offer guidance on the steps to achieve them.