The Impact of Stress on Innovation

Impact of Stress on InnovationStress is something that affects all of us at some point in our lives. Although some amount of stress is unavoidable, businesses need to recognize the importance of creating as stress-free a working environment as possible in order to support innovation. After all, a stressed workforce can greatly impact innovation; causing employees to miss work and lack motivation when it comes to devising and implementing new ideas. You need to be able to create a workspace that boosts employee morale and combats signs of stress all of which will actively foster innovation.

How does stress affect employees?

Stress is a normal physical response that we have to events which make us feel threatened, upset or anxious. When our bodies sense any type of real or perceived danger then our ‘fight or flight’ response is triggered and the stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol are sent surging through our bodies. The end result is a pounding heart, tense muscles, elevated blood pressure and shortness of breath. Can you imagine trying to come up with innovative ideas whilst experiencing all of these symptoms?

When the issues causing these reactions aren’t resolved chronic stress occurs. An increasing epidemic in our modern world, chronic stress has rocked the productivity of workforces over the past few years. In fact, one Natural Green Secrets article revealed that 75-90% of all doctor’s visits are related to conditions caused by stress. Moreover, a separate Health and Safety Executive article highlighted how 12.5 million working days were lost due to work-related stress, depression or anxiety in 2016/2017. In order for companies to continue developing innovative ideas, this stress epidemic should not be underestimated.

Solutions for reducing stress within your business

Supporting innovation requires businesses to implement proactive measures that prevent their employees from becoming so stressed in the first place. By doing so you can ensure your workforce feel valued and remain motivated to produce innovative ideas for your organization.

Stress can arise as the result of one major event or the culmination of a series of seemingly insignificant incidents. External causes of stress among employees can include feeling overwhelmed by your responsibilities, whilst internal causes of stress can include chronic worry, a feeling of inflexibility in thought processes as well as a repressed anger or resentment towards certain aspects of their work.

Businesses need to recognise the how these underlying feelings can stifle creativity; leaving employees feeling overwhelmed and uninspired. Innovation can never flourish in this environment. One of the main sources stress among a workforce is a seemingly insurmountable workload. When your employees feel that their list of daily tasks is steadily increasing without having access to any additional support it is only inevitable that they will become stressed.

Fortunately there is a solution to these stress triggers. Providing your employees with easy access to helpful resources which improve their work experiences will help them to remain engaged with their company and create innovative ideas. For instance, at IdeaScale we have created a unique idea management platform that utilises crowdsourcing. Through this system your employees can efficiently pose ideas to an engaged community of prospective consumers who vote and comment upon the effectiveness of their ideas. Not only does this platform reduce employee workload but it also grants them the satisfaction of receiving direct feedback on their ideas. This collaborative processes enables your employees to evaluate, improve and hone in on specific ideas which will be best suited for your company.

The end result of idea management platforms on employee stress is impressive. Having access to this centrally managed system permits employees to manage multiple campaigns, measure the impact and outcome of innovation activities, and receive one-to-one training support from experts. This technology enables employees to collaborate on ideas easily; communicating with other departments in a hassle-free manner. Employees can also gather any essential data they need without stress, receive helpful support on areas of interest, and contribute their own ideas via a multimedia platform that is open, receptive and adaptive to their needs.

Seeing your ideas at work can be an incredibly rewarding process, so much so that  studies have shown that actively engaged employees outperform their counterparts by 202%. Equipping your company with such software enables you to foster innovation among your workforce without the stress of miscommunication. As well as reducing the onset of stress, these initiatives actively boost employee morale by giving them a chance to contribute ideas and receive feedback which makes them feel valued as an individual. As a matter of fact, 93% of employees surveyed in a Cone Communications Employee Engagement Study  stated they want to work for a company that cares about them as an individual.

Ultimately, by equipping your employees with helpful resources and additional support, you can help to combat the causes of stress and nurture a working environment that actively encourages and rewards innovation. Recognizing the impact of stress on innovation and tackling it directly enables companies to forge ahead of their competitors and solidify their brand reputation as an organization which cares about the wellbeing of each and every member of its team. If you would like to learn more about the ways in which our idea management platforms can help reduce stress and support innovation then please feel free to contact our IdeaScale team today and to subscribe to our IdeaScale mailing list.

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This is a guest post authored by Amber Tanya, a writer from Kent, England. Miss Tanya has worked as a ghost writer servicing multiple international news and automotive publications. Miss Tanya also holds a First Class Honours degree in English Literature from an esteemed British University. She primarily writes technological, travel and scientific articles but is versatile and enjoys writing across a broad range of other topics. You can contact Miss Tanya at [email protected] Miss Tanya can produce outstanding content upon request and can adapt her writing style to suit the tone of your brand.

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