Stress management is a critical part of any workplace, but it is perhaps even more important in manufacturing organizations. Workers can face high-intensity tasks, tight deadlines and complex relationships across multiple teams.
Although some stress in the workplace is natural and even positive, overwhelming stress can quickly become detrimental to physical and mental health — not to mention efficiency and productivity. To keep workers feeling comfortable and supported, it's important to spend time learning what worries them and how you can help.
According to research published in the Journal of Academic Research and Sciences (JARES), causes of workplace stress can include:
Here are seven ways to address and overcome these potential problems.
1) Build relationships
The research published in JARES suggests poor relationships with coworkers and lack of appreciation from superiors can lead to workplace stress in the manufacturing industry. To address this, make relationships a priority in your organization. Remember that communication is key and that too much competition can make coworkers into enemies.
2) Keep training current and accessible
Training should be clear, effective and efficient. It should also be updated regularly to appropriately prepare newcomers for work in your manufacturing organization. However, training doesn't have to be limited to new employees. Encourage everyone in your company to take training opportunities — after all, there's no shame in learning new things.
3) Manage workloads effectively
Overwhelming workloads can quickly add stress to an employee's work life. To manage those workloads effectively, be sure to distribute responsibilities as evenly as possible and don't leave positions unfilled for too long.
4) Set realistic expectations
According to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), another thing you can do to help manufacturing workers manage stress is to set realistic expectations. Hardworking employees want to meet deadlines and deliver top-notch results, so they'll appreciate expectations that don't demand too much from them.
5) Make it safe to ask questions
An open, communicative environment encourages employees to ask questions about any element of the manufacturing process. This comes with all kinds of benefits, the most important being a dedication to precision that wouldn't be possible without clear answers. However, employees who feel safe to ask questions may also feel less stressed about their responsibilities, tasks and workloads.
6) Create opportunities for change
Although workers used to choose one career and stick with it, those habits are changing, according to SHRM. Instead, it's smart to give employees the chance to move around your manufacturing organization as you see fit — that way, they get to try new things and you don't lose a valuable worker. This also eliminates the stress of being stuck in a position that another employee may feel unfit to fulfill — and it can help beat boredom, too.
7) Stay vigilant
One thing may make manufacturing employees stressed, but just as soon as you've tackled it, that one thing can change. Stay vigilant and pay attention to your workers' needs so you're not the last one to know when something is bothering them.