Modern workplaces are plagued by stress, which can make it difficult for employees to fully engage and be productive. In fact, work is identified as the number one source of overall stress for American workers. Since we spend so much of our time at work, reducing a stressful work environment as much as possible is key to happy, healthy, hardworking employees. So, how do you go about doing so?
Common Causes of Employee Stress
Lots of things stress out your employees, and some of those things you have little to no control over. But if you want to help with stress is every way possible, understanding what’s stressing out your workforce is an important first step. Personal issues, workload, and job security all contribute to employee dissatisfaction. Researchers have found that there is no single solution to alleviating stress, though many have attempted to construct all-encompassing lists of stress-reduction methods.
One of the first things you can do to reduce stress is make sure there’s as much of a positive fit as possible between your employees and their work environment. Employees feel more relaxed when they fit into their job role and workplace well, but tension and stress are increased when they don’t.
The environment you provide for your employees needs to be regularly examined by leaders and organizations. Providing an office that does not stress out your employees is more important than we might think. Below are some tips for reducing workplace stress:
Keep The Environment as Stress-Free as Possible
Your environment contributes to a great deal of stress; thus, an office space can have a profound effect on the wellness of your workforce. Think about what it does (or does not do) for them. Employee engagement can be affected by simple aspects of the office that you might initially overlook. Think about small details, like adding plants or games in the break room so your employees can take a few minutes away from thinking about work throughout the day.
Whenever Possible, Implement Flexible Work Hours
You hired your employees because you felt they were able to perform their jobs to the best of their ability and in a timely manner. Trust them to do so. Don’t let the office environment feel like a prison for your employees. For positions that allow some flexibility, consider offering your employees the chance to work remotely, or implement less strict start and end times to the workday.
You may feel like this will cause your employees to slack off, but research shows employees who work in a more flexible environment are more likely to be satisfied with their job and show increased productivity.
Encourage Employees to be Social
The more comfortable employees feel, the less likely they are to feel stressed. Moreover, the better coworkers get to know one another, the better their interactions in the future will be. To promote a comfortable experience, encourage your employees to socialize with one another during breaks or throughout the workday.
Put an Emphasis on Overall Wellness
We know one thing, stress in the workplace can be reduced by exercising and living a healthy lifestyle. Of course, you don’t have complete control over the wellness and health of your employees, but as a leader, you can help by implementing a work environment that encourages wellness. Try encouraging employees to go for regular walks on their breaks, subsidize gym memberships, offer healthy snack options in the break room, or even set up in-office yoga every once in a while. Remember that employees feel valued when you care about their well-being!
Allow for Quiet Time
Employees that are stressed and can’t get away from it are much more likely to be disengaged and hostile. Remember, never think that your workforce must be hard at work for the entire time they’re on the clock. It’s important for stress reduction that employees are allowed to take a break and enjoy some quiet time during the workday. Try to prevent employees from feeling as though they’re unable to take some time out of their busy schedule to relax and clear their mind. If possible, providing a lounge area or room for some quiet time is a good idea.
Make Time for Recognition
When your employees achieve something, they should be recognized for it. Recognition goes a long way in the workplace, and certainly shouldn’t be overlooked. But don’t forget, each employee has a different personality, so consider their needs and preferences when selecting a method of recognition. Regardless of your choice for recognition, your employees will appreciate the fact that you are aware of their success and care so much about sharing it. Recognizing your workforce can help to make employees feel more comfortable and accomplished, leading to overall improved job satisfaction and reduced stress levels. And even if your employees have been feeling the stress of a project or assignment, recognizing their hard work might make the stress they’ve gone through feel a little less impactful.
A surprisingly large number of employees feel that they need help learning to manage their job stress. To mitigate this, it’s a fantastic idea to try and provide counseling to help employees manage their stress. Not only can this help employees to deal with current stressors they might be experiencing, but it can also provide them with useful tools for better dealing with future problems that might arise.
Chronic stress can kill a workforce. It can reduce happiness, productivity, wellbeing, performance, and can lead to high turnover rates if not effectively managed. For these reasons, organizations should go to every length they can to try and reduce work-related stress for their employees. Even if you can’t follow all these tips, try tailoring them to the capabilities and needs of your organization. Trust us, your employees will thank you.