Stress in the workplace is a real killer. Not only does it place a strain on working relationships, but it hampers work quality and productivity, increase the need for sick days, and decrease creativity. Often times we think of stress as a personal issue that individuals need to workout on their own, but there’s plenty employers can do to help. As a leader in your company, there’s a number of ways you can foster a low-stress environment, or simply give your employees tools to help manage workplace stress.
Here are some unique ways you can reduce stress for employees and improve the mood in your office:
Take a Survey
The best way of tackling stress is to find out what’s causing it in the first place – the results might surprise you! It could be that some employees get stressed over a disorganised work environment, or being left alone during peak business hours, or dealing with particular clients.
Once you’ve found out the main source of stress, you can work alongside your employees to help solve the problem or give them better ways of dealing with it. Simply giving employees the opportunity to talk about what stresses them out can do a lot to help them overcome the issue.
Give Your Employees Something to Look Forward To
A major cause of stress can be in anticipation of progress reports, reviews, meetings, or other occasions where work performance is under review. So, an effective way of reducing stress is to also give employees something to look forward to. This can include casual fridays, catered lunches, bring your pet to work day, a breakfast club, etc.
If you get the sense that meetings cause your team to become anxious, then try to include something fun or positive to start and end your meetings with. This can be bringing food, playing a team-building game, or having everyone take turns sayings something positive about another coworker.
Offer Flexible Scheduling
Taking care of personal obligations while working can also add to stress, especially when it’s hard to get the time off. Trying to cram trips to the bank, doctor’s appointments, and all other errands after work and on the weekends will quickly lead to burnout.
Since the feeling of not being in control is strongly associated with stress, a flexible schedule can give employees a sense of freedom in when they work. Whenever possible, offer your employees flexible hours that allow them to come into work early or later, or even work their full time hours over four days instead of five.
Give Reassurance Through Recognition
You might not think your employees worry about their job security, but you’d be surprised just how many do. Being uncertain about job security can produce a lot of unnecessary anxiety, but there are a few ways you can put your employees at ease.
Recognition will give your team members the reassurance that they’re valued for what they do. It will also help offset any discouragement and worry they receive criticism. Too much criticism without praise can make a worried employee start to look for other work. So, to keep your employees from doubting their ability keep their position, find ways of giving praise.
Remove Stress by Leading by Example
As a leader, you help set the tone in the workplace and show your employees how to react under pressure and deal with stress. If they see you losing your cool with approaching deadlines, or crack during super busy periods, then you can expect them to be just as frazzled.
So, when preaching about stress management and a good work-life balance, make sure you’re walking the walk. You should strive to promote a healthy work relationship by managing your work hours, taking breaks, and actually taking vacation once in awhile. Encourage your employees to do the same, and make them take their breaks. Many employees feel guilty about taking their breaks during busy periods, so they often end up skipping them altogether.
Losing valued staff as a result of stress is costly not only in terms of absence time, but also detrimental to relationships between staff and performance. Keeping a low-stress office is a healthier and happier work environment for your employees, and better for your bottom line.