With stress and mental health issues accounting for a high proportion of absenteeism, many companies and HR departments are putting strategies in to place to support their employees in an effort to reduce workplace stress, and there seem to be a lot of in-house lunchtime yoga classes springing up. Arecent survey by Perkbox found that 59% of 3,000 respondents felt stressed because of their work, with overwork being given as the biggest reason. How will lunchtime yoga help with that? Don’t get me wrong, I think lunchtime yoga is great and I think when it is part of a bigger initiative that also involves you reviewing your systems and processes to see how you can better manage workflows and workloads, it will be awesome.
There are several advantages to taking this approach to reducing workplace stress: not only do you ensure a happier, healthier workforce but you also improve productivity and efficiency, potentially reducing costs in a variety of ways (not least via a reduction in absenteeism and an increase in staff retention).
So, let’s take a brief look at some workplace stress factors and possible tech solutions.
Hands up who still works in an open plan office? Hands up who would rather not? Thought so. From arguments over how hot/cold it should be to what music (if any) should be playing in the background, open plan offices can cause huge amounts of stress. Even if the atmosphere is harmonious, the sound generated is usually quite harsh and it can be difficult to concentrate with all the distractions and interruptions.
So, what’s the solution? Ask your employees how they would prefer to work. With all the different communication tools available to us now, is there really a need to have everyone working in one big, echoey room? Moving to smaller work spaces with break out areas for when group working is beneficial, could make a massive difference. And if that really isn’t possible, what about utilising some of the new technologically advanced sound proofing boards that are available. Strategically placed around the room, these boards will absorb harsh noise, making the open plan office a much nicer environment to work in.
How many tasks do you still do manually that could be automated? Overwork was highlighted as one of the biggest causes of stress in the workplace, so making processes more efficient could help massively. There are so many factors here and while the time savings seem small when taken per action, they soon add up. Take for example, the amount of time invested in dealing with an unpaid direct debit. First, the non-payment needs to be picked up, then matched with the right customer, the customer record needs checking and updating – is this an expected cancellation or something else? Then a letter or email needs to be sent to request payment another way etc, etc. Let’s be generous and say doing all of that manually will take 5 minutes – not long is it? The whole of that process (and more) could be integrated and automated meaning it would take seconds. Is 5 minutes still not so long? And what about if someone is doing something similar 10 or 20 times a day?
There is another side to having multiple data entry points too: the risk of errors. The more times data has to be entered manually, the higher the risk that a mistake may be made. More stress. There is the pressure to get it right in the first place and then there is the stress of dealing with the fall out if a mistake has been made.
The solution: integrate your systems and make use of push/pull notifications. As workflows become more efficient, not only are you less likely to have overworked employees but those employees will have more time to work on new business instead of just managing existing business.
Inability to access information needed, when it is needed
There is nothing worse than needing some information and not being able to get your hands on it. Perhaps it is held on a system that you don’t want everyone to have access to but isn’t able to support multiple permissions. Or the information is on the Sales CRM system that doesn’t link with accounts or vice versa. Frustrating, annoying, time consuming – stress inducing.
Another benefit of integrating your systems is that you can reduce the occurrence of events like this. Introducing a new, or expanding your existing, CRM system will help to ensure that all your employees have all the data and information they need, when they need it. Sensitive data will still be protected with multiple permissions ensuring that data can only be accessed and edited by authorised employees. Need to know if Mr Jones paid his bill before you ship his next order? There you go.
There are so many ways that savvy companies can utilise the technology at their fingertips to help reduce workload, reduce stress, improve efficiency. While introducing lunchtime yoga is great, make it part of a bigger initiative that truly looks at your employees working day to see how you can improve it. It won’t just be your employees who benefit.
Roar are a small team of highly skilled software developers who can help you deploy your existing technology more efficiently. Call us now to arrange a FREE, no obligation Systems Survey and find out how you could improve your employees work lives (and your Company’s efficiency).