After living through a pandemic, it’s safe to say we’re all familiar with stress. Stress happens naturally in the workplace as employees face new pressures and strive to do their best. Organization leaders need to be aware of signs of burnout, stress, and overall unhappiness among their employees. If you notice stress among your employees, it’s time to act. While stress can stem from organizational or personal matters, it is important for management to stay aware and do what they can to reduce workplace stress.
Why Businesses Need to Reduce Employee Stress
It should be obvious to managers that it is important to lower employee stress. No one wants to work in a stressful environment and it’s no fun to work alongside people who are stressed all the time. Organizations with happy employees have better productivity, lower healthcare costs, and less turnover.
Stress in the workplace is a major distraction for employees and can result in poor job performance, taking more time off, and lack of focus. As such, it is important that every organization has resources to deal with employee stress.
How Management Can Help Lower Stress
Here are some of the ways that leadership can help employees manage stress.
Implementing flexible work hours or a work from home program has become more common for organizations. This can allow employees to commute during less-busy hours, more easily manage childcare, or work when they are most productive. Flexible hours or the opportunity to work remotely can help employees manage stress and be happier at work.
Another way to mitigate stress is to regularly discuss career development with your employees. Don’t wait until your annual reviews to talk about your employee’s career and what they want to be doing; engage with them on a regular basis. Discussing plans for your employee’s growth will show that you are invested in them and alert you to any new interests they would like to explore in your organization.
Fostering a culture of open communication and honesty in your workplace is essential for any company. With this kind of culture in place, employees can feel more comfortable voicing any stress they feel in the workplace and allow them to be honest with their manager about stress in their personal life. An open and honest environment will allow employees to feel more comfortable on a daily basis.
Finally, the most important way that leaders can assist with stress levels is by setting a positive example. It is essential for managers to lead by example, and stress is no exception. If you are overworking yourself, your employees will notice and believe that behavior is expected of them as well. However, if you demonstrate a healthy work-life balance, your employees will follow your lead and not feel guilty about it. Overworking regularly can lead to employee burnout, which can wear down employees over time. The best way to prevent this is to set a positive example for your employees.
Take it to the Next Level
It’s a good practice to talk about employee stress regularly. If you hold weekly one-on-ones with your employees, take some time during those meetings to check in about personal matters, if it’s comfortable with you and your employee. Regular one-on-one meetings are a good place to get a sense of your employee’s overall stress and happiness. If you find that employees have too much on their plate and are struggling, you can address it during these meetings and discuss ways to lighten their load.
Additionally, organizations can implement employee surveys to measure overall happiness and stress in the workplace. Feel free to make this an anonymous survey so employees feel more comfortable voicing their opinions. Review the data to see how much stress your employees have and how much of that is coming from the workplace. If you find that stress is prevalent in your organization, talk with management about ways to reduce stress from the top down.
Now that we’ve stressed you out about stress, let’s take a deep breath.
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