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Nearly 12 billion working days are lost per year across the globe due to stress-related illnesses like depression and anxiety, costing $1 trillion in lost productivity.
Major causes of workplace stress include workload, interpersonal issues, work-life balance, long hours, and job security, but Gallup found that "when employees are engaged at work, they report significantly lower stress in their lives." And 41% of employees cited having clearer goals and stronger guidance as the leading ways orgs can improve engagement and culture.
To do that, leaders need to communicate the key topics employees care about most. And they need to stop sending long-winded communications and easily missed ad-hoc updates — which can contribute to their employees’ confusion and stress. Leaders can commit to better communication practices by:
Sending consistent updates: Using an up, down, and around approach, leaders need to cascade critical updates throughout an organization, contextualizing and reinforcing key information. This will keep employees informed and aligned around key company objectives and goals.
Creating a single source of truth: Having one breaks down silos, boosts transparency, and increases productivity. And having a core internal communications platform that all teams and departments can use to keep everyone informed creates a consistent feel to all messages — making it easier for individual employees to know what they should look for from others in their own inboxes.
Carving out time or channels for feedback: Through times of tense or difficult work, leaders need to communicate more than ever. Guidance, encouragement, quick course correction, and ongoing input can be a pressure release valve for teams — and create a simpler space for teams to ask questions, share input, or offer insight into what may support them and their work even more.
Allotting time for focus and rest: Employers must allow for what Gartner calls “proactive rest.” Encourage employees to take care of their mental health with restful solutions around demanding work periods, use no-meeting blocks throughout the week, and remind folks to consider the mental health benefits available to them.
The bottom line: The more informed and up to date employees are, the less unnecessary stress they’ll feel. Find and commit to a consistent cadence so employees no longer stress about what’s going on at the company, its goals, or its direction.