Social Support and Stress in the Workplace 

April 23, 2016

Social Support and Stress in the Workplace 

According to the American Psychological Association’s report, Stress in America: Paying with Our Health, “One in five Americans (21 percent) say they have no one to rely on for emotional support.” Wow! Think about that.  Twenty percent of the workforce has no one they feel they can truly vent with when they have stress events in their life.

Given that, it is even more important for employers to provide an environment that promotes positive working relationships. It is equally important that employers address unacceptable behaviors, not just because they impact productivity and employee engagement, but because at least one in five employees are relying on them to do it, because they won’t or can’t.

When social support, specifically the lack of it, is an issue, three things happen:

Employees Avoid. They bypass people or events that could cause conflicts. This is not always a conscious act, but it happens nonetheless. When people are avoiding, then:

Cooperation Ebbs. When employees are avoiding, the ability of a team to work together to achieve goals is impacted. When goals don’t get met, then:

Frustration Ensues. Levels of upset or annoyance increase, which amplify feelings of stress. This can be a vicious cycle of growing stress, for the individual, for team mates, and for their families.

Does this situation exist in your workplace? If we are talking about 20 percent of employees, then you bet it does.  What are you doing to address this important element of workplace stress and employee disengagement?

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