We all cope with stress in one way or another. Work-related stress, however, continues to be one of the most constant sources of anxiety.
According to the American Institute of Stress, 40 percent of the workforce describe their jobs as "very or extremely stressful." What's more, a 2016 study from Harvard's T.H. Chan School of Public Health determined that work-related stress ultimately costs U.S. businesses $30 million every year through lost productivity.
Stress rears its head a number of different ways in the office, but workload is one of the most common culprits. The AIS reported that 46 percent of stress-addled employees identify their workload as the main cause of their anxiety.
It doesn't have to be this way, though. While some amount of stress will always be part of the job, employees and business leaders alike can ease their anxiety and enjoy greater peace of mind by getting clearer visibility into their various workflows.
Fear of the unknown
One way in which this stress manifests is during the fallout from a process or workflow issue. If a particular task or assignment falls through the cracks and leads to bigger problems, there's usually an all-hands-on-deck response to right the ship. However, what follows is the lingering uncertainty that the oversight wasn't a one-off instance, but rather a symptom of a more systemic problem.
Having no way to monitor workflows and ensure they are being followed to a T can be a major source of stress, especially when dealing with complex interdepartmental processes. If you don't have a way to check that workflows are moving along smoothly, you'll always worry that something is being missed.
Workflow management software can be a huge help here, giving businesses the visibility needed to identify growing process-related problems and correct them - no more sleepless nights worrying about all the potential issues lying underneath the surface.
Take the University of Pennsylvania, for instance. The Ivy League institution had difficulty overseeing its accounts payable requests, including determining who submitted a request, who had received it and if it had been directed to the right person. Without clear visibility into these workflows, no one could be sure that each request was being addressed in a timely manner. That's a pretty stressful situation, especially when requests start to be escalated because it's unclear if they were ever received.
By implementing Issuetrak, UPenn officials were able to get the visibility they needed to plainly see where matters stood - and that degree of certainty leads to a healthy state of mind.
"Certainty leads to a healthy state of mind."
Workflow management puts minds at ease
Greater workflow management visibility also facilitates more robust access control efforts. Every organization deals with sensitive information. Human resources and payroll departments, for instance, receive any number of requests from employees with the understanding that those disclosures are confidential. If an employee submits a request for certain concessions to be made to accommodate a mental health issue, that information should certainly not be available to anyone outside of the HR department. Ensuring such sensitive employee information stays confidential is a stressful endeavor in its own right for HR reps. Doing so without comprehensive visibility into related workflows and processes will only ramp up anxiety levels. How can you guarantee something you have no insight into?
In UPenn's case, they were able to use Issuetrak to silo off requests to specific departments, preventing other team members from viewing sensitive information. With that level of segmentation in full force, HR and legal teams can breathe a sigh of relief knowing their employees' sensitive internal requests are on a strictly "need to know" basis.
Completely eliminating stress from the workday may be a pipe dream, but with workflow management software like Issuetrak, you can achieve the visibility needed to eliminate uncertainty in your internal processes and enjoy a little peace of mind.