It is in your best interest to keep the level of stress in the workplace to a minimum. Leaders and managers can act as positive role models, especially in times of whirlwinds and thunderstorm. If the leader can remain calm in a stressful work situation, it is much easier for their employees to also remain calm.
Stress in the workplace can come in many forms and can create a major impact on themselves, their colleagues as well as the company.
Regardless of the form it takes, stress in the workplace can reduce productivity and company turnover, increase chances of employee burnout as well as an increase in medical expenses and health insurance costs when it comes to compensation claims.
Look Out for the Warning Signs
Before you could be of help, you would need to look out for the signs of a stressed employee. A cheerful and smiley employee of yours who has a sudden burst of temper is definitely one of the signs of stress. Other signs include:
- Loss of interest at work
- Sudden shift of focus or trouble concentrating
- Complaints of constant headaches
- Depressed or easily irritable
You may not be a certified doctor, but if you realise your employee is no longer cheerful after a couple of weeks or even days, you would have known something is not going quite right. Now would be a great time to find out how to help your employees manage stress in the workplace.
How to help your employees manage stress in the workplace
Encourage a healthy lifestyle
Help your employees reduce stress in the workplace by encouraging a healthy lifestyle. You could create a workplace wellness program that aims to improve the health of your employees. Organise activities such as a friendly sports competition among different departments or plan a company nature walk once a month.
Create a schedule of sports or fitness activities available around the office so that your employees are able to choose which classes are available to them and they could even get their family involved. This not only encourages a healthy lifestyle but also helps employees when it comes to bonding with their colleagues as well as their family.
Besides planning a workplace wellness program, try and encourage eating healthy food for lunch. Instead of having fried chicken wings for lunch, cater a healthier option for the team like grilled chicken salad. You could also stock up the office pantry with healthy snacks like granola bars and different types of fruits for them to snack on throughout the day.
Help employees to focus on key healthy activities such as increasing physical activity, improving eating habits, reducing stress, and reducing tobacco use.
Have a read on our blog for other great ways to encourage better employee health at the workplace.
You could invite guest speakers once a month to have a chat with your employee on different genre relating to the workplace or personal issues. Have a selection of guest speakers to talk about topics such as:
- Dealing with emotional stress
- Quick stress management skills
- How to prioritise and schedule your time wisely
- Financial planning
Take note that there are some people who are very private and do not like to talk about their personal problems to others, even if they are their close colleagues.
These random talks by guest speakers may come in handy to those private and quiet employees of yours and this could help reduce their stress in the workplace.
Focus on positive culture
There will be weeks where your company is going through a difficult and stressful month and what better way to lessen employees’ stress in the workplace by creating a new positive company culture. A company culture can always be restored, recreated or reinforced depending on the team and direction that the company is heading towards.
It is the behaviour of your employees towards the company that creates a company culture.
Promote an ‘open-door’ policy in your company and welcome employees any time during office hours. While being a leader is already overwhelming at times, make time for your employees and be a listener as well. This does not go out to only the management team but to other fellow colleagues as well.
Your employees may be feeling uncomfortable talking to you about their issues, but when an ‘open-door’ policy is being practiced at the workplace; other staff will get the change in company culture and will eventually cultivate that culture as well. This actually provides opportunities for social interaction among employees.
“Be passionate about your company’s culture and your mission. Remain positive because it inspires others.”
– Kurt Uhlir
Encourage a flexible work schedule
Gone were the days where nine-to-five is the fixed working hours of any company. You can be flexible to the time they are to report to work or leave for the day.
Be accommodating to the shifts or office hours without losing too much control and provide employees the flexibility they deserve. Allow employees to take time away from work to deal with personal and family issue.
You could practice flexible working schedule for employees where they could work from home or take a personal day if need be. This works out great for parents with children in school or day-care.
“Flexibility is a requirement for survival.”
– Roger Von Oech
Revamp the workplace
When was the last time you had an office makeover? Perhaps it is about time you start revamping your office space and layout. Create a relaxation space in your workplace with a coffee table, couches or bean bag so that your employees can wind down or relax after having a tough sales pitch.
If you have a room to spare, turn it into a games room with a game console or a pool table. They often say that golf is a sport where entrepreneurs discuss their business dealings.
This games room could turn out to be just that! Make it more comfortable and user-friendly for your employees to even have a go at discussing their thoughts and ideas over a game of pool!
In any job or industry, there will be a certain level of stress that every employee will have to face but how your employees manage their stress it not only up to them; it is also up to you.
Be positive for your company and employees and always make time for them when they approach you with problems, regardless if the issue is work related or a personal one.
Good luck and do not stress out about it!