It’s no secret that more and more workers are stressed at their jobs, which can contribute to low engagement and productivity at work, plus fatigue and other mental health issues in their personal lives. While some professionals are able to manage the stress of a busy schedule, some feel consumed by the day-to-day challenges and often are unable to achieve a healthy work-life balance. This is an opportunity for employers to step in and take action to combat stress in the workplace.
According to stress.org, 83% of US workers suffer from work-related stress, with 25% saying their job is the number one stressor in their lives. Not only is this harmful to the employee’s health and overall wellness, but it also affects businesses. With stressed-out employees, employers see low productivity, low engagement, and more sick days being used, as well as the need to replace employees who decide to quit to take care of themselves. If employers can step in to help before the problems get out of hand, they will see happier and healthier employees which will ultimately lead to business success.
Tips for Employers to Take Action to Manage Stress in the Workplace
Follow along for some helpful tips to support your employees and promote a lower-stress workplace. Managing stress is the best way to avoid burnout and protect your employees’ mental wellness.
Tip #1: Prioritize employee wellness
You can set expectations of employee wellness by encouraging employees to take regular breaks, go on walks, create fitness programs to stay active and promote healthy eating in the workplace. Showing your employees that you care about their health and want to ensure they are taking care of themselves will give them peace of mind to make their health a priority. This way they are able to manage stress and focus on their personal matters which will enable them to perform at their best when they are at work.
Tip #2: Allow flexible schedules
Offering flexible schedules is a great way for employees to feel like they can manage their personal lives without worrying about being reprimanded at work. Flexible schedules give employees the opportunity to build trust and stay productive during their work hours knowing they can prioritize personal matters when needed. This freedom will also build loyalty and improve satisfaction knowing that it’s the quality of the work that is being judged and not just being seen at the job.
Tip #3: Encourage use of vacation days and PTO
Many employees forgo their vacation hours and end up working instead. Encourage your team and your coworkers to take breaks and go on a vacation when they have time off available. Vacations help people rejuvenate and refresh and also gives them space to focus on their mental wellness during their time off.
Tip #4: Focus on recognition
Letting your employees know they are appreciated can go a long way in making them feel like they are doing their job well and that they are on the right track. Feeling insecure about job stability or feeling like your hard work is not being seen can be big causes of work-related stress. Recognition can be anything from team meeting shoutouts to free lunches and gift cards if budget allows. You can even have 1:1 meetings to express your gratitude and show recognition if an individual does not like to be in the public eye.
Tip #5: Provide support when needed
Make sure to have open and honest communication with your employees. Let them know that your door is always open and that they can come to you if they need any support. This is especially helpful if they are starting to feel stressed with their workload or have challenges with their projects. Showing support when your employee is going through a hard time will reassure them that you care about them and will encourage them to manage their stress. This will also build trust and loyalty over time.
Tip #6: Encourage informal meetings and get-togethers
Team bonding is an excellent way to encourage your employees to get together and relax. Activities such as volunteering, informal meetings and occasional get-togethers will help relieve stress and feelings of being supported in the workplace. As team members get together informally, they will also build on their communication which will help strengthen their relationships at work.
Tip #7: Lead by example
The best way to show that you prioritize health and mental wellness is to lead by example. Show them that work-life balance is important by unplugging at a decent time and being empathetic towards professionals who might be going through a rough patch. When you are going through a stressful situation, take the healthy route to release your stress instead of letting your frustration show at work. Seeing you take your PTO and go on vacation will also show them that this is a normal thing to do at the workplace.
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