Top Priority in 2015: Dealing With Overwhelm in the Workplace

Did you know?feb 17

  • More than two-thirds of all surveyed organizations believe their employees are “overwhelmed” with too much information, too many projects, too many meetings and phone calls, and an always-on 24/7 work environment.
  • The average person checks his or her cellphone 150 times a day
  • The average business professional has 30 to 100 projects on their plate.
  • Modern workers are interrupted seven times an hour and distracted up to 2.1 hours a day.
  • Four out of 10 people working at large companies are experiencing a major corporate restructuring, and therefore facing uncertainly about their futures.
  • More than 40% of adults say they lie awake at night plagued by the stressful events of the day.

We are surrounded by distractions and technical addictions which increase stress and workplace anxiety. As we move into the age of smartwatches, wearable devices, and faster smart phones it is time for Human Resources to review how to keep the work environment HUMAN. Simplifying and streamlining tasks and creating a more humane culture should be top priority.

Flexibility: Allowing employees to have more flexibility decreases overwhelm. Creating a culture that is focused on results, rather than time invested, plus the ability to work from home will reduce stress. Many employees are trying to balance between work and responsibilities at home. Making it easier for them to care for children, family, or elderly while keeping up with work will help them feel more in control.

Think Healthy Lifestyle: Implementing corporate wellness programs will not only reduce stress, but also sick-day losses. A few ways to support employees are:

  • Provide nutritional support through cooking classes or healthy vending machines
  • Exercise or Yoga classes during lunch time.
  • Subsidize gym membership
  • Organize sports teams

Keep it Small: It has been proven that small teams work more quickly, collaborate better, and outperform large teams. There is a cohesiveness that allows smaller teams to be more productive. Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezo abides by the “two pizza rule.” He believes that if there are more than two pizzas needed in a team meeting, the team is too big.

Encourage Breaks: Productivity goes down and stress levels increase as employees push through their day without taking a break. Many employees now even eat lunch at their desks while they work. Tony Schwartz of the “Energy Project” has shown that if we have intense concentration for about 90 minutes, followed by a brief period of recovery, employees will reduce the buildup of stress and have clearer focus and higher levels of productivity.

Simplify: Review procedures and processes. If there is a ten step process to finish a project can it be reduced to five? Does the software require multiple clicks and screens when it can be redesigned to only need one click? Is there lack of delegation with the management team which holds up the processes?

All of these little details can add to the overall stress and overwhelm of the workplace. Streamline and simplify your workflow processes. It will not only increase productivity but it will also create a more peaceful culture.

 

[1] Statistics source: Sharon Melnick, Ph.D., a business psychologist and author of Success Under Stress