4 Steps to Reduce Workplace Stress

Aug 30, 2017
| Michael Altiero
Reducing Workplace Stress

Workplace stress is a real problem for employees and their companies. Not only can excessive stress negatively impact productivity and performance, but it can also affect your employees’ physical and emotional health. Needless to say, reducing workplace stress should be a goal for every company.

Most companies today are prioritizing employee engagement and happiness. The expectations of today’s workforce are drastically different than what it was just 15 years ago. Work-life balance, family-leave policies, learning and development, and flexible schedules are now expected by employees. In addition to helping with recruiting, these perks and programs can greatly reduce the stress levels of a workforce.

But how can companies identify already stressed employees? Besides workplace programs, one of the best ways to combat employee stress is through managers. As a team leader, managers are in a unique position to help their employees deal with the day-to-day stresses of their role and workplace. Making sure that their employees aren’t too stressed is one of the many responsibilities of a manager.

As a manager, there’s a lot that can be done to help reduce stress among your team members. Being a positive role model and remaining calm in stressful situations can help employees act in a similar fashion. However, there’s more managers can do to reduce workplace stress:

1) Improve Communication

One of the most effective methods for managers to reduce employee stress is to listen attentively to them in a calm, face-to-face setting. Employees may feel more comfortable discussing their stress levels and concerns in this type of setting. In addition, knowing that there is an open line of communication with their manager can help with employee happiness and engagement.

Another benefit of improved communication is that not only will employee stress levels be reduced, but it can help managers, too. Everyone feels stress (including managers), and helping employees will enable them to become more productive, which will improve everyone’s morale.

2) Review Job Fit and Work Load

A common cause of workplace stress is simply being overwhelmed. This can happen for many reasons, such as unclear job descriptions and too big of a work load. Often, these problems can be avoided by having improved communication between employees and their managers.

To avoid these issues, be sure that the work load of each employee is suitable to their abilities and resources. Avoid setting unrealistic deadlines that lead to higher stress levels. Also, remember to utilize appropriate rewards and incentives with your team. You may be surprised how much they can alleviate stress!

3) Show Employees That They Are Valued

All employees want to be seen as valuable components of a business. When that doesn’t happen, workers may begin to feel as though their work doesn’t matter, which can add a great deal of stress. To avoid this, managers and organizations should do the following:
  • Ask employees to participate in decisions that affect their jobs
  • Offer employees career development opportunities
  • Promote an entrepreneurial work climate that gives workers more control over their work
  • Share as much information as you can with employees – this will reduce uncertainty about their jobs and futures

4) Cultivate a Friendly, Social Climate

One of the most common practices that has proven to reduce employee stress and increase happiness is to have a friendly office atmosphere. Providing opportunities for social interaction among employees – including team lunches and company outings – can greatly reduce workplace stress and increase morale (not to mention be a boost for recruiting efforts).

Also, be sure a zero-tolerance policy for harassment is implemented and strictly enforced. This policy should be given to employees during their onboarding process and stored somewhere that is easily accessible (company intranet site for example). Lastly, be certain management actions are consistent with your organizational values. Ensuring a safe and friendly office can be a great stress reducer for all businesses.

Managers: Help Combat Workplace Stress

Workplace stress isn’t always a bad thing. Stress within our comfort zone can help us stay focused, energetic, and able to meet new challenges in the workplace. However, too much stress (both at work and at home) can have numerous impacts on employees. As a manager, being open and understanding can go a long way to reducing stress at work, which will lead to happier employees and better results for your business!

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