Employee stress is something which employers, or at least heads of departments, are required to deal with more and more in the modern working world. This isn’t a bad thing: the changes made to workplace culture across the past decade or so aren’t just beneficial to the employees, they’re helpful for the companies as well. The more stress-free your employees are, the better they’ll be at their job, the more productive they’ll be and the more motivated they’ll be to put in real effort to help your company succeed. The question, of course, is how do you, as a leader, reduce employee stress? Let’s look at some steps you can take.
Communication Is Key
So many of the problems that arise in the workplace are down to communication, or rather miscommunication. This can cause some real breakdowns in the system that will impact employee state of mind; but it can be avoided. A breakdown in communication can leave employees in the dark as to what they’re doing and what’s expected of them. They might complete a task completely wrong because they’ve misunderstood the instructions. Whatever the case, it’s a catalyst for stress which is exactly the opposite of what you want for your company and for your employees. So, work hard to keep communication as clear as possible.
Reassure and Encourage Employees Whenever Possible
When you’re preoccupied with the business of being responsible for a team of employees and for the outcomes of their work, it can be easy to brush over success as simply what’s required and only focus on failures, since a failure demands a solution. This isn’t the correct attitude to have, especially if employee stress is what you’re concerned about. You should be working your absolute hardest to acknowledge your employees’ good work whenever possible. It helps not only as a way to give a sense of direction to employees, but also to help them feel valued at the company. These are important factors when it comes to reducing employee stress.
Promote Flexible Productivity rather than Regimented Inefficiency
You can’t expect employees to always be able to produce the goods. Sometimes in life things come up that will unavoidably distract your employees – illness, personal issues, poor personal organization or even just a bad day. The crushing weight of a M-F, 9-5 job is an overly oppressive and pointless structure from the past. It’s not that employees should be allowed to work less, but that they should be encouraged to work smarter. If an employee knows they’re having their dog put down Wednesday morning, they probably also know that any time spent in the office Wednesday afternoon will be unproductive and stressful. So, eliminate that stress by making an allowance for them. Give them the day off and let them do a little extra work on Saturday or Sunday from home. This sort of flexibility is really effective for reducing employees’ stress.
Get Your Employees Moving
The stationary lifestyle has so often been criticized. Offices are generally not spaces that are optimized for movement and exercise. Stress is so frequently carried in the body that exercise, of all different sorts, can really help alleviate the stress that is manifesting itself as a knot in your employee’s lower back. Encouraging your employees to move about and exercise, anything from physicalized meditation to a walk in the park at lunch time, is an excellent way for you to dig out the pre-existing stress your employees have. This will also set in place an approach to office life and health that will prevent stress long-term.
Stress can kill productivity, damage relationships and affect mental and physical health in your employees. Recognizing this is a really important step for you as you try to optimize your workforce. Employees appreciate the effort and will likely reward you through their increased productivity and dedication.