The millennials are now in their twenties and thirties. They have finished school. They are taking over workplaces with their sheer numbers. They are moving from entry-level positions to Grown Up careers. They are also experiencing the stress and burnout that comes with this stage of life.
However, there are factors unique to this generation which relate to how they use technology. Employers who acknowledge this zeitgeist will be better able to create nurturing workplaces.
We can’t afford a workforce hampered by anxiety.
The stakes are high for US employers if the collective stress level continues to rise. The American Psychological Association projects $500 billion in additional annual expenses.
Besides saving money, what will this do for you?
You will have happier, more productive employees. They will bring energy and fresh ideas. You will have a hiring advantage—which becomes more and more important as the labor pool shrinks. You will create a work environment that will benefit your employees of all ages. (Did you know that your staff could represent five generations?)
Workforce management software can help ease employee stress and prevent burnout. WFM is uniquely qualified because using technology is second nature to millennials who have grown up with it.
The same software that tracks time and attendance can promote mental health?
Let me explain.
To create a healthy workplace, you need to recognize that the line between work and play is blurred, or arguably, erased. Work is life and life is work. People have developed a fluid relationship between business and personal tasks. Interacting with technology is great when it helps you accomplish many things at once. But, for many, it increases stress.
So if the misuse of technology is causing problems, how can WFM technology ease these problems?
We will look at 3 areas where wfm apps can de-stress your workplace: schedule control, communication, and wellness programs.
People who have little or no control over their work schedules are more likely to experience anxiety. Offering flexible or at least stable schedules is important for promoting employee mental health. A predictable work schedule is a stabilizing factor for busy millennials.
Some companies are able to offer flexible schedules where employees choose their hours. WFM apps simplify this type of scheduling—without increasing the stress on scheduling managers. Employees enter shift requests in the app. Managers create complex schedules in minutes with templates and drag-and-drop. The app guides the scheduling using the employee shift requests. The manager doesn’t have to remember everyone’s availability. The app ensures adequate shift coverage. It also limits stress-inducing overtime.
The schedule lives in a centralized online forum. All parties can access it day or night and see changes in real time.
Flexible schedules help people advance in their career through all stages of life. Companies benefit by having access to talented people who can’t (or don’t want to) work a traditional schedule. They are able to retain experienced employees who need to adapt their work schedule to a change in personal circumstances.
Ironically, the “always-connected” group can feel more detached and distracted than those who grew up before the digital age. At the same time, they are used to 24/7 information access.
Savvy employers use wfm apps to play to their strengths. Employees can access all pertinent Human Resources information on their phone. This includes time cards, accruals, employee schedules, tax forms, and benefit information. That’s the type of data that requires no human intermediary. It helps employees manage work processes when it’s most convenient.
On the flip side, wfm apps facilitate collaboration where it’s needed. Online forums in wfm software let teams communicate even when they are working at different locations. Telecommuters, mobile workers, and in-house employees can all work on the same projects. This communication can take place any time during the day or night.
Don’t eliminate face-to-face conversations just because it’s possible to interact through technology. Frequent group and one-on-one interactions are important de-stressors.
WFM apps simplify two-way communication which is better than uni-directional communication like emails. Employees who can easily contribute are more engaged and invested in the common purpose.
WFM software it easier for employees to work remotely. Working at home can ease anxiety—especially if it eliminates a taxing commute. Companies who allow telecommuting need to be aware of employees who need in-person social interaction. Employee-friendly companies accommodate the unique psychological needs of each employee. This necessitates a mix of schedules and work environments. Workforce management systems capably handle all types of employee communication.
A Healthy Workplace
Optimizing human capital includes promoting psychological health. This starts with choosing a health insurance plan that emphasizes the mental health aspects of employee wellness.
WFM apps can help administer any type of company wellness program. Employees interact with the wellness program in the same wfm app where payroll and scheduling workflows are accessed. This underscores its importance. It’s not an afterthought that’s rolled out once and forgotten.
Some companies offer incentives for stress management training. The training is most effective when it is presented in small bits at a time. Your millennial employees may have a hard time dropping everything to concentrate on a 2-hour stress management class every month. Short stress management tips can be inserted naturally into company communications. This holistic approach keeps the subject top-of-mind.
WFM apps have tools for onboarding, training, employee engagement, recognition, and performance reviews. Incorporate stress management training wherever possible. Teach healthy stress coping strategies. Encourage reasonable work hours and frequent vacations.
Outline realistic expectations for response times. Just because you can respond immediately to client or co-worker queries doesn’t mean you have to. Make sure the executive team and managers set good examples. They could benefit from stress management training as well. When management sets a good example, it reiterates that when it comes to healthy practices, you walk the walk.
Employers who reduce stress for millennials will have lower health care costs, increased productivity, and more engaged employees.
SwipeClock helps companies establish a healthy work environment that prevents employee burnout and improves job satisfaction. For more information, visit SwipeClock workforce management.
By Liz Strikwerda