How to recognised if employees are suffering from stress

Stress is a natural part of everyone’s life. Everyone knows what it’s like to feel stressed, even if you can’t always put a precise descriptor on it. We can be stressed over specific situations or events, or it can build over time both in our home and work lives. People often disagree to whether stress is the cause or the result of problems. Regardless of this it can have physical and emotional effects on us that affects how well we do our jobs. So how do you spot when your employees are stressed?

Time Keeping

Often a sign that an employee is stressed is that they start keeping different hours at work. If someone goes from coming in at the same time as everyone else, to coming in early and staying late, it might be a sign that they are feeling overwhelmed with their workload. Employees who are feeling like it’s hard to stay on top of their work load may also start working through breaks and lunch, and not taking entitled time off for fear of slipping behind. If some of these are normal behaviours for your employee then it’s not something to worry about, but if it is part of a sudden change of habit it could be a sign that they are feeling under pressure.

Sick Leave

Conversely employees who are feeling overly stressed may end up taking more time off if the source of the stress is pressure or the atmosphere at work. Your employee might start coming in late, or taking more sick leave than normal whilst providing only vague symptoms as the reasoning. If the cause of the stress is the mood at work then they may be trying to avoid it.

Stress also has a physical affect on the body, compromising one’s immune system and making them more susceptible to illness. They may find it difficult to shake that cold or flu virus, or get sick much more frequently than is usual for them.

Energy drops

Often stress makes a person struggle to sleep, as it can be increasingly difficult to turn off your mind because the things that you are stressed about stay in your head. Often when people are stressed they come into work looking visibly tired, even after a restful weekend. Employees may also seem to tire much more easily than usual, make simple mistakes where work was previously accurate, or become more prone to forgetting things. Indecisiveness and confusion can often show that people are feeling overwhelmed and are distracted.

Withdrawing

When an employee is stressed you may notice that they start shying away from the more social aspects of work, or try and avoid drawing attention to themselves. Some people are naturally shy but if it seems like a change in their behaviour then it could be a sign that they are feeling the impact of stress. If someone who is usually chatty and social within the workplace suddenly starts withdrawing into themselves it is always wise to check up on them.

Becoming Overly Sensitive

When someone is stressed they may become increasingly sensitive and emotional at work. This is especially true when it comes to work related chat. Comments or jokes that would usually be a source of laughter may cause upset when people are stressed as they are more likely to take things in a way in which they are not intended. They may even take personal offence or not be able to handle constructive criticism or comments about their work.

Judging character change

The most important thing to keep in mind when trying to spot whether your employees are stressed is noting whether their behaviour has changed. Many people are naturally shy or quiet and it’s no cause for concern, but when someone who is usually exuberant stops talking or joking