A majority of employees in today's world feel stressed out on the job. The stress is taking a toll on everyone's relationships, health, productivity, sleep, and even a sense of well-being.
According to the World Health Organization, workplace stress commonly happens with employees that have to perform tasks that exceed their abilities and knowledge, as well as when they lack support from their peers and supervisors. Additional causes of stress include managers that have unreal expectations, short deadlines, and huge workloads.
If you do not want your employees to burn out, you must do something to reduce stress. As a manager, you need to create a healthy environment in your company so that your employees (and you!) can cope with a stressful workplace.
To help you find ways to create a less stressful but more healthy work environment, we have prepared five ideas you can implement in your company.
Identify the Causes
First, you need to identify what is causing your employees to feel stressed out. While it is evident that some of the most common causes of workplace-related stress are present in your company, to reduce stress, you need to identify the exact culprits.
One of the ways you can identify the causes of stress in the workplace is by having an open conversation about work with your employees. You can discuss various topics including what they feel is the cause of their stress, what are some of the obstacles they run into at work, are there any areas of work they are struggling with, etc.
You could also use monitoring software for employees to try and find the root of their stress. As an example, one of our clients looked into their employee monitoring data and realized that many of their employees spend a lot of time using Google Translate. To solve this, he organized language lessons for those employees which resulted in a less stressful and faster environment.
Get Rid of Distractions
Distractions are one of the most common workplace stress triggers, but people rarely talk about them. We all face many distractions in our work lives. Emails, social media notifications, team chat notifications, meetings, and coworker drop-ins are just some of the most common distractions all of us face daily.
To get rid of them in your company, you need to establish some rules.
For instance, you should enforce a rule to meet as little as possible. While for some people, the idea of sitting for countless hours in meetings seems productive, the truth is that most meetings distract people from being productive.
For social media notifications, you can encourage your employees to turn off the internet on their phones when they are working hard.
You can also encourage your employees to pause their team chat notifications.
No one can stop coworker drop-ins, but you can encourage your employees to contact each other via chat before barging in.
Don’t forget that your team will most likely mimic your behavior. Therefore, the more respectful you are of their time and deep focus, the more respectful they’ll be towards each other’s working time.
We already talked about how overwork and unrealistic timelines are the leading causes of workplace stress. To help your employees feel less stressed about their work, you can more carefully evaluate the deadlines you set for your employees. Ask them what they think is a more realistic deadline. They need to know that they can be more assertive at work.
You can use a time tracker to track the most common tasks of your employees and figure out the average time for how long it takes to complete certain tasks. This will help you create a realistic baseline for certain tasks and you will be able to more realistically plan your deadlines.
If there are other managers in your company, they should do the same: more realistic deadlines and less work.
In our ever-connected world, it sometimes may be hard to establish the right boundaries. While for some people, it is alright to send emails long after the work has ended for the day, for others that could cause stress.
To help those employees feel better, you need to establish company-wide boundaries. It would help if you communicated what is and what is not allowed in the company. You need to set clear structures and processes about proper communication, deadlines, and anything else that might cause stress for employees.
Another way to establish boundaries is to make a rule that none of your employees are allowed to answer their work emails after 7 PM. You can learn more about the no work emails after 7 PM rule by watching this interview our Head of Content Bojana did with SlumberYard's Founder & CEO Jeff Rizzo, who pioneered this rule at SlumberYard.
Encourage Everyone to Rest
The best way a person can reduce stress is to get rested. While you cannot force your employees to relax when it works for you, you can still help them get more rest. For instance, you could work for less on Fridays. You can even have a flexible working time arrangement, which allows your employees to organize their days as they seem fit.
You can also look into rewarding your hard-working employees with more vacation days. However, it sometimes can be hard to figure out which of your employees are working the hardest, especially in a remote environment. That is why you must know how to use a monitoring software for employees. With it, you will get a complete real-time overview of how your employees are spending their time at work.
If your employees are working from an office instead of remotely, it would be great if you had a designated rest area. While an entire room for employees to rest would be ideal, a little corner somewhere in the back of your office is sufficient enough.
The rest area can even be a nicely decorated terrace or your dining space. A nicely decorated rest area will help motivate your employees to actually use it when they are stressed out or just tired from work.
Knowing how to track employees work properly allows you to delegate fewer tasks to your hard workers, thus preventing them from crashing and burning out.
If you want to prevent your employees from crashing and burning out, you have to help them manage their stress better. While some stress factors at work are internal, there are also external ones, and there is something you can do about them.
Your employees need to know that you are aware of their stress problems and that you will do everything in your power to help them out. They need to know that you are aware that they should not sacrifice their happiness and health over work.
These five simple methods laid out in this post can, in addition to helping improve the lives of your employees, create team members that will love coming to work every day. And that is something incredible.