Stress is normal both in everyday life and within the workplace. However, excessive amounts of stress can affect your employees on a physical and emotional level, whilst also being detrimental to your company’s productivity and output. Stress can be problematic for businesses everywhere. Employees needing time off work due to stress-related illnesses, continues to rise with 11.7 million working days being lost in 2015/16 alone. Therefore, if you’re seeing a correlation in employee absence forming, it’s time to address this – sooner rather than later.
Strategies For Managing Stress In The Workplace
Being a manager shouldn’t mean that you should carry the stress of your employees, but you should take the necessary steps to help alleviate it. Here are a few strategies to help reduce the stress levels for you and your employees:
1. Find The Route Of The Problem
Stress can be caused by a variety of reasons inside and outside of work, the key is to finding out what is causing your employees stress, and if it is something you can help prevent.
Everyday factors that cause stress can be: bad management, tight deadlines, large workloads, disagreements with colleagues, and many more. However, these are just internal factors that cause stress in the workplace, some employees may be stressed from issues at home.
Finding the root of the problem is the first step in how to manage stress within the workplace, as this will allow you to then address the issue successfully, yet also compassionately. Ignoring stress will cause an array of problems not only for you, but for your team of employees and your business.
2. Have Daily Catch Up Meetings
By having a daily catch up you can discuss what work you and your team have on for the day. It allows you to understand what may not have been done within the day and eliminates guesswork and loss of control. It promotes collaboration and as a team you can focus on resolving this issue instead of it weighing on an employee’s shoulders.
These daily catch up meetings can be brief, but it is also a great way to see what your employees are up to and how they manage their workloads. This will give you an insight to their day at work and how intensive their workload is. This brings me on to the next point.
3. Check Employees’ Workloads
We’ve all been there – whether at school, college or university, where the stress of meeting a deadline looms. This is often apparent in workplaces which have a large workload and deadlines to adhere to. These looming dates can generate high stress and anxiety levels within your employees.
A step in resolving this issue is to ensure your employees know about deadlines well in advance so workloads can be managed accordingly, whether done themselves or by yourself. That being said, daily catch up meetings will provide you with transparency needed to understand if your employees are struggling with their workloads.
4. Manage Working Hours
It is very easy and common for employees who have a hefty workload to begin working outside of office hours. This is very unhealthy and can be a leading cause of stress. If an employee feels obligated to work from home, then something needs to be done before it starts to affect their life outside of work and so that a poor work life balance is avoided.
As a manager, you can assume who is working out of hours as employees begin to reply to a few emails on weekends or in the evenings on weekdays. There needs to be a cut off point emphasised where your employees can shut off from work and spend time with their family or friends, this will act as a pleasant distraction and offer external understanding to their stress where you cannot.
5. Set An Example For Your Employees
It’s crucial as a manager that you lead by example. By showing employees the importance of a good work-life balance and their wellbeing, it will allow them to feel understood and clear that this is as important a target as any other. Possessing a good work-life balance will reduce stress, as after leaving work it’s their down time and a way to turn off from thinking about work.
That also goes for you as a manager, taking breaks away from your desk and socialising with employees to promote office culture and feel at ease with the team. Communication and collaboration should be encouraged, not limited.
Remember that stress can be generated by the office itself, not just the tasks within it. Protect your employees from feeling like they work in an environment where the facilities they require aren’t available or are old fashioned, as this can leave employees stressed and deliverables becoming delayed.
Consider updating your office space as it can boost morale and productivity. Providing breakout areas so employees can take time away from their desk if it is all getting too much can be beneficial against stress.
6. Promote A Healthy Lifestyle
Eating badly can put stress on your body, it can make you feel run down and under the weather, making it hard to function properly when at work. As a manager, it’s your job to make sure that you promote the importance of being healthy. This can be done by having a fruit bowl in the office where peckish employees can tuck into fruit rather than a chocolate bar – foods high in sugars and fat have been proven to cause lapses in concentration.
It doesn’t stop there, another good way to promote a healthy lifestyle within the workplace is to hold meetings whilst on the move. If your office building is near a park you can take employees out and about for their meetings for a change of scenery, rather than the daunting idea of being sat in a stuffy conference room. The fresh air will make yourself and your employees de-stress instantly and it is a great way to squeeze a bit of exercise in.
There are plenty more ways you can manage stress within the workplace, as sometimes it can be difficult for employers/managers to get employees to open up entirely about why they are stressed. By following the strategies above you can contribute to a less stressful working environment for your workforce and decrease any existing stress levels.