Helping Employees Cope With Stress

Issues in our personal lives can impact our job performance. As a supervisor, it can be hard to know how to help an employee who is experiencing high levels of stress.

Amanda has concerns about Steven.

Amanda can always count on Steven to contribute to her team: he has no conflict with co-workers, is enjoyable to be around, assists others and his performance goals are consistently met. But she has noticed changes. Recently he has had numerous absences from work and frequently gets to work late. He has been isolating and been less productive. He has been tearful ever since having an anger outburst at a work meeting. It is unclear to Amanda if, as his supervisor, she should share her concerns.

Here are some ways you can assist your employee and your company to more effectively manage stress in the workplace.

  1. Recognize the warning signs of workplace stress:
  • Displaying indecisiveness or poor judgment
  • Social isolation
  • Decrease in work quality or performance
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Frequently arriving late or leaving early
  • Fatigue/lack of energy
  • Mood swings, overreactions, argumentativeness
  • Increase in absences
  • Increase in work-related or physical (pain, headache) complaints
  1. Check if you (or your company) are contributing to the problem.

Assess if there are any changes that can be made on the job to decrease the stress in an employee’s life. Ask employees about their levels of work anxiety and what work factors trigger their stress. Look for ways to prevent or alleviate such triggers.

  1. Communicate (but not about personal issues)

It can be tempting to act as a therapist to an employee experiencing problems. To not blur the professional lines, it would be better to encourage them to seek outside assistance (by utilizing their EAP benefits). Instead, effective communication can focus on the clear explanation of job duties and actively listen to the needs of employees.

  1. Make the reduction of work-related stress a priority.

Loss of productivity and financial profits can result when works are too stressed to perform effectively. Brainstorm ideas of how to recognize employees and given them opportunities to grow.

KeySolutions EAP is available to help you in any areas you may want help with when it comes to supporting your staff.  Here is a sample of some of our training:

  • Stress management
  • Communication
  • Listening
  • Work/Life balance
  1. Take advantage of the resources available to you.

Employee assistance programs exist to provide workers the support they need. Encouraging your employee to utilize this service can benefit both your employee and your company. EAP therapists can assist in finding ways to alleviate various types of stress. Be sure your employees are aware of their EAP benefits with KeySolutions and encourage them to reach out for professional help (605-334-5850).


Ideas for this article were found in the following online resources:

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