In order to maintain a productive workforce it is important to ensure it is stress free. However, this can be challenging. Although stress is something that can directly impact the performance of an employee at work, it is often also caused by forming bad habits within the workplace, making it a ‘catch 22’ problem in the professional environment. For this reason, it is important not only to identify and manage stress in workers, but also to implement policies that can prevent it from occurring again.
For managers in charge of a traditional office-based or ‘physical’ workforce, the signs may be easier to spot and a tired, emotional and anxious employee will soon become apparent. But when you are responsible for a team of remote staff this becomes much more difficult. While it may be trickier, it is not impossible. Here are some signs for management to look out for that could mean a remote worker is suffering from stress:
Lack of communication
A happy, healthy relationship between worker and manager will involve open communication, working together to ensure that tasks are completed and resolving problems that may prevent this from happening. If the lines of communication soon start to dwindle, it could be because your worker is ‘tuning out’, detaching themselves from your organisation as a result of feeling stressed. Of course, other factors could count towards this, but if you notice a previously open member of staff start to shut down, it may be time to intervene.
Unaccounted or frequent absences
Stress can have negative health consequences, both mental and physical. Although you won’t be able to instantly spot team members suffering from regular headaches, irritability or tiredness, this could accumulate in sudden unexplained or frequent absences to cope with these bouts of ill-health. If you notice an employee requesting more sick days or last-minute leave than usual, consider whether their working environment could be the cause.
Regular over or underworking
Each individual will have a unique way of dealing with stress – some may ‘switch off’, distancing themselves away from their role and regularly clocking in and out to their shift late, doing the bare minimum. However, others may feel overwhelmed and put pressure on themselves to perform, working overtime on a regular basis.
How can stress be identified and managed?
Using intelligent workforce monitoring software can help to identify each of the stress signifiers above. With accurate, real time data of actual working patterns, trends can quickly be identified over time, highlighting abnormalities as they arrive.