Coping with Stress in the Workplace
Help your employees handle stress and keep your workforce at peak productivityStress can reduce your workers’ productivity, and your own. An overload of stress can lead to time lost to mental paralysis, health problems, and counter-productive arguments among too-tightly wound staff. A calmer workplace may well accomplish more at a less frenetic pace. You may want to consider ways to:
1. Help your managers and employees cope with stress.
2. Organize your office and workflow so as to avoid unnecessary stress.
3. Build buffers against unavoidable stress by facilitating a collaborative workplace.
4. Encourage good health for your employees.
Educate employees about handling and reducing stress
Communicate expectations and assignments clearlyA major factor in reducing stress is ensuring that your employees know what they're expected to do and which tasks are most important. Uncertainty about responsibilities or desired outcomes will heighten stress and lower employees' effectiveness. Comprehensive job descriptions can help. Setting priority lists for assignments, so that everyone knows which jobs rank highest, can also reduce the pressure of feeling pulled in multiple directions.
Practice effective time and project managementAfter setting priorities, the next step in reducing workplace stress is to ensure that staff has time scheduled to accomplish their tasks! When there's more to do than can be done in the time allotted, or when employees spend too much time on smaller pieces of the puzzle and therefore work inefficiently, the result is unnecessary stress. This applies on both the individual level (time management) and the work group level (project management).
Build a work atmosphere and corporate culture that does not add stressStress can be catching! In order to lower stress among your workforce, look at your business' physical and mental space. Is your office too noisy? Do your workers have the right tools and technology to get their jobs done? Examine your corporate culture as well as the physical space. An environment in which collaboration is encouraged, good work is praised, and employees communicate professionally with each other is much less stress-inducing than an environment in which workers feel unsupported, unheard, or not valued.
Support healthy, stress-reducing behaviorYou can reduce stress in the workplace, but eliminating it is not an achievable goal. Healthy, active workers have a greater store of resources to draw on in dealing with stress. An employee who has skipped lunch, has had insufficient sleep, or is in poor health generally is less able to handle everyday stress. Encourage your employees to use their vacation time or personal leave and set the example by using your own. Make healthy food available at the office, and see that working through lunch is not an unspoken expectation in your workplace. Encourage gym memberships, walking-at-lunch clubs, and amateur sports participation through unofficial teams or corporate leagues.
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