Clarity VM Consulting is marking National Stress Awareness day by offering 6 solutions on reducing workplace stress.
As an employer creating a stress-free work environment should be a top priority. With 12.5 Million working days lost last year due to workplace stress, depression or anxiety, this is a problem you can simply not afford to ignore.
In this blog, we will look at some of the common causes of stress in the workplace and how a Lean approach and simple visual management can often be the solution.
1) Inability to cope with the workload and the demands of the job
44% of the 12.5 million working days lost were due to problems with the workload. This is a huge part of the problem and is largely due to a lack of Lean thinking.
Lean describes a system that produces what the customer wants, when they want it, with minimum waste, doing only that which adds value for the customer.
It is very easy to get caught up in the whirlwind while more and more tasks land on your desk, with new ideas not replacing the old ones. Taking the time to stop, look and think ‘Is what I am doing, or what I am asking something else to do adding value to the customer?’ If your answer is ‘no‘ then it is perhaps time to start looking at streamlining your process. Cutting down your workload to something which only adds value will not only reduce the stress but also increase the productivity, quality and wellbeing of your whole organisation.
2) Lack of information and support from the employer
Unsupported and uninformed staff are not only suffering from stress but are also far more likely to make mistakes. This is where effective and engaging visual management and SOPs are key. Standard operating procedure displays, are a fantastic bit of kit to ensure important information is always readily available to staff at all times. When supporting Network Rail’s Lean programme we introduced ‘Walk-Out Wednesdays’, which was a great way to ensure senior managers were engaging with staff at all levels and employees across the board felt supported.
3) Employees not fully understanding their job role or responsibility
Employees who don’t understand their role will tend to then start to lack engagement and drive to reach their targets. A key way to combat this is to ensure you are holding daily meetings around a visual management board. This means that any tasks resulting from the meeting can be clearly assigned to an employee, which will then help to give a task focus for the day. An extra benefit to this would be increased communication of targets, which will allow the whole team to see how close you are to reaching your target and discuss and set goals based on this. This allows employees to become more engaged in their tasks as they know why they are doing it and what it will achieve.
4) Employees feeling a lack of control over the way they do their work
A common source of frustration for any employee is being stuck in a task that they know isn’t working, but they have no control to change it. It is easy for a manager to lose touch with the day to day tasks of a company and thus forth hand out irrelevant and time-wasting tasks. A great way for a manager to ensure they are staying on top of their game with this is to introduce a suggestion scheme, to encourage improvement ideas from everyone in the company. This will allow staff to feel like they have a voice and also will allow you as the manager to keep up to date with all aspects of the company, you never know what absolute gems of ideas you may receive.
5) Bullying or difficult relationships in the workplace
A great Lean principle is that improvements need to be made with the input of the whole team, especially those closest to the operation itself. This not only results in the improvements being implemented quickly and issues resolved, but it also engenders trust and appreciation at all levels. Visual management can also increase transparency in the workplace, with the information readily available and encourage an environment where issues are dealt with in a fair and unbiased way.
We must remember that improvements do not only happen in the boardroom.
6) Staff not feeling engaged with new changes in the workplace
Open communication is vital here. An employee who is made to feel as if they are left in the dark will start to become suspicious and negative about changes. It is important to have regular meetings, newsletters and suggestion boards during a time of change to ensure employees feel a part of what is happening. This creates an honest and open work environment, which encourages a more positive, engaging and enthusiastic buy-in from everyone across the company.
Tracking and communicating the results of the changes made is essential. Do not be afraid to be honest, if something isn’t working, invite ideas and communicate the countermeasures to everyone.
Need help implementing changes to engage your staff and keep them engaged? De-motivated staff will block an otherwise successful improvement programme every time. Speak to us to arrange a powerful Ignite Session to set you on the track for a happy, enthusiastic workforce that is fully engaged with your vision for the company.
Save money with ClarityVM Consulting…
Here at ClarityVM Consulting, we coach clients both far and wide about how they can use visual management to achieve their goals, exceed their targets and make financial savings which would otherwise be lost to waste. We work with our clients to create a bespoke strategy that ensures visual management is set up for success before providing specific, high-quality Lean products to sustain the visual management programme and make Lean work in the organisation long-term.
You can read more about the work we’ve undertaken with our clients by browsing through our Visual Management Case Studies
Further reading on the Clarity Blog:
- Developing an Effective Standard Operating Procedure
- ClarityVM at the Nissan Sunderland Plant
- Assessing Goals and Auditing Strategies
- Aldeburgh Lifeboat Station – Saving Lives With Lean Thinking
- A Visual Management Definition You Can Rely On
- Kaizen Events: Clarity Consulting’s Secret Weapon
- Why Your Workplace Communication Fails (…and How To Improve It)