Why Are Stressed Employees Less Productive?

Written by: Shreya Manerkar MA (Clinical Psychology)
Last updated date : January 17, 2023

You are trying to write a report, but all you can think of is – the deadline, back pain and bad headache. In addition to this, you had a fight with someone at home. If this sounds like something you have faced, there is a possibility you were stressed. People often have this question, “why are stressed employees less productive?”. They also frequently want to know the link between stress and productivity?

In life, some stress is good because it helps us work. However, too much is not good for our health. At work, you will observe that stressed employees are found to be less productive. Let us understand what is stress, how it affects the body and mind, and the changes that you can make.

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Chapter 1:

What Is Stress?

In simple words, stress is a feeling of emotional or physical tension. People can feel stressed when the situation seems demanding. From a work point of view, when people feel that the situation is tough, they may feel stressed. This is because they feel they cannot handle such situations. Therefore, stressed employees are found to be less productive. In life, people face short-term as well as long-term stress. Either way, stress may have a long-lasting effect on the body. Everyone faces some form of stress in their life. This could be due to positive or negative situations. Some positive stresses are marriage, a new job, shifting to a new country and so on. On the other hand, negative stresses are the death of a loved one, job loss or some form of failure. Let us read ahead and understand how our bodies will react to stress.

Chapter 2:

How Does the Body React to Stress?

Long term stress can affect the body and mind in many ways. Let us first understand how stress affects the body. When stressed, a person will show the following signs:
  • Body pains
  • Stomach problems
  • Tiredness
  • Weight loss or gain
  • Trouble sleeping
  • High blood pressure
  • Low sex drive
  • Weak immune system

Often, people who are stressed can’t focus on work as they face so many problems with their body. And therefore, stressed employees are less productive.

Chapter 3:

How Does Stress Effect Our Emotions?

Apart from affecting our bodies, stress effects our emotions. Let us look at the list below to understand how stress affects our minds.
  • Poor focus
  • Irritation
  • Sadness
  • Depression
  • Drinking and other drug use
  • Eating too much or not eating

It must be clear after reading this that employees who are stressed will focus on their physical and emotional issues more than work. Hence, stressed employees will appear to be less productive.

Chapter 4:

Why Stressed Employees Are Less Productive?

With the help of an example let us understand the link between stress and productivity. Imagine a person who has three deadlines within a week. To add to this, they have to take care of their sick mother. They have to manage work as well as visit hospitals frequently. Now imagine if you were this person, how would you feel?

It is possible that anyone in this situation would be tired, including you. You would also not sleep well because you have to complete work. Along with this, you may feel body pain from running around managing too many things. If you are feeling tired thinking about this, imagine how this person would feel.

Even though this situation is extreme, we are always managing multiple things at one time. Therefore, we are not able to give our 100% at work. So, there is a clear link between stress and productivity. Higher the stress, lower the productivity.

Chapter 5:

How to Help Stressed Employees Be Productive?

What would you do if someone is going through a similar situation as mentioned above? The obvious answer is to support them. When we can see that stressed employees are not productive, we can try some simple ways to help. Whether it is for you or someone working with you, these simple and fun tips can be useful. Exercise and Yoga Many studies have shown that stressed employees greatly benefit from some form of physical activity. When employees feel less stressed, they feel more productive. Hence, you can plan yoga sessions for them. Another popular activity that companies plan is a dance or exercise session. In addition to reducing stress, these activities boost employee productivity and morale. Closely associated with yoga is having a meditation room. If you want to make the room attractive to employees, play calming music which will relax them. If you do not have space for a room, you can play soft calming music in the background during work hours. Fun Stress Reducing Activities Everyone likes to take a break from daily stress. When employees are stressed, their performance is poor. This is because day to day work can be boring. Hence, if employees are bored, they are less productive. A great way to improve productivity is by planning fun activities for them. Some activities that you can plan are:
  • Minute to win it games
  • Friday fun days
  • Post work meetups
  • Department wise parties
  • Outdoor activities
  • Pot luck or themed lunches

Positive Message Board The words you use when talking with others can have a positive or negative impact on them. This means that if we use negative words when we talk to others, the experience will be negative. Therefore, employees will feel stressed when the environment is negative, and hence be less productive. Remember, a happy workplace will help reduce stress and improve productivity. So, you should try to promote a positive workspace. A good way to do this is by starting positive message boards. With the use of these boards, you can put daily or weekly motivational quotes. Alternately, you can also encourage employees to contribute to this board. “Bring Your Pet to Work” Day It is a known fact that pets reduce stress. You should do this only if all employees are comfortable with pets. If such a day is planned, employees will look forward to a stress buster session with pets. In addition to helping stressed employees relax, it will help them become more productive. Counselling and Therapy Lastly, you can visit an expert to learn more about stress and ways to cope with it. Alternately, an expert can visit the office to conduct workshops with employees. You can plan these sessions on a weekly or monthly basis. The expert will cover topics such as stress, how to be productive, motivation and so on. If you really wish to help you employees become best versions of themselves, enroll them in this self help course “DBT for Social Anxiety“. This course will help your employee deal with negative emotions and increase their productivity.

"Structured and engaging course" Joan

69 sections

6-Weeks Self-Paced

  • Educational Content
  • Quizzes
  • Self-reflection material
  • Suggestions & feedback
  • Worksheet, tips & tools to use

$9.00 $12.00

25% discount