Work and stress often go hand in hand, to the point that it’s almost ingrained in our culture. As a society, we tend to value that hustle-till-you-drop, fueled-by-coffee mentality. Studies have shown that too much of the hustle leads to stress and burnout, factors that decrease productivity levels dramatically and lead to high levels of employee turnover.
It’s important for employers to learn how to help reduce stress in employees. Making a few fundamental changes in your office culture can have a massive impact on their long-term mental health.
The Benefits of a Relaxed Workplace
There is a well-documented, inverse relationship between stress levels and job performance. When stress levels go up, employees feel physically and emotionally ill. Productivity goes down, more sick days are taken, and ultimately, your organization loses money.
On the flip side, when you make employee well-being a priority, productivity goes up. Happy employees will stay at your company longer, decreasing turnover and allowing you to attract higher levels of talent. Finding ways to reduce stress in the workplace is in the best interest of employer and employee alike.
Strategies for Managing Stress in the Workplace
So how can employers reduce stress in the workplace? It’s important to acknowledge the source. The leading causes of stress in the workplace are poor company culture, feelings of job insecurity, and a lack of communication about job expectations or otherwise. You can find ways to reduce stress in the workplace by addressing these factors in your organization. Here’s how:
- Adjust your expectations. You can’t expect your level of commitment to the company from your entry-level employees. Loyalty is something that must be earned. If you do the work to create a company to be proud of, your employees will buy in over time.
- Listen to your team. When your employees come to you with a problem, don’t just write it off or assume they aren’t trying hard enough. Employees get stressed when they feel like their workload is beyond their control. One of the ways to reduce stress in the workplace is to let them know that you value their input, and mean it.
- Pay attention to your company culture. A culture of gossip or harsh competition will never foster relaxation or teamwork. Model the culture you want to see in your organization and make sure it’s a good one.
- Fire toxic employees, no matter how high their performance levels. One bad seed can poison an entire department. Don’t let your bottom line obscure how your employees feel. One of the best ways to reduce stress in the workplace is to eliminate the drama queens (and kings.)
- At the same time, make sure your employees know what the disciplinary process is like at your organization and stick to it. Although most states allow at-will termination, abusing this power makes everyone feel that they can be fired at any time. Your employees should know when their jobs are in jeopardy, so they otherwise feel secure.
- Finally, be crystal clear in what you want from your employees. Give them all of the information, tools, and resources they need to succeed. Foster a dialogue that occurs at all levels of your organization. If an employee has a fundamental misunderstanding of their job and how you want them to perform it, that’s on you.
Finding ways to reduce stress in the workplace is just one way to make your employees happier and, by extension, more productive. For more leadership tips, subscribe to my blog updates. You’ll receive my best articles delivered straight to your inbox.
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