How to reduce stress at work
Employees are more productive and innovative when they’re comfortable in the workplace. Figuring out how to reduce stress at work should be a top priority for employers, as undue pressure and stress can hamper anyone’s ability to perform.
Although a certain amount of stress can be motivational, it can also be counter-productive. Not only will it drain your energy and waste valuable time, it impacts your focus and creativity, and can even impair good judgement.
The impacts of stress can go beyond the workplace too. In 2014/15, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that 440,000 people in the UK reported work-related stress at a level they believed was making them ill.
It’s in everyone’s best interests to have an office culture which supports employees, as well as managers who set realistic expectations and keep an eye on workloads before they become unmanageable.But what can employers do to ensure their staff don’t face unnecessary pressure? We’ve got some top tips on how to reduce stress at work. Check them out:
1. Talk to your employees
Transparency and openness is key. Employees should feel like they can be honest with those around them, including managers, when things are getting a bit too stressful. They should be able to say no to requests, or ask for extensions, without worrying about the consequences.
NHS Choices cite advice from reputable life coach, Suzy Greaves, who helps people to become empowered and believe they have a choice. After all, many of us believe there’s no alternative to overworking when we’re faced with an ever-growing to-do list. That isn’t the case. She explains that whilst agreeing to extra work can earn you brownie points in the short term, taking on too much and failing to deliver is a terrible long-term strategy.
Businesses should always be thinking in the long term. Employers are responsible for creating a culture where individuals have the confidence to make decisions, even when they might not be the most popular choice.
2. Organise team bonding activities
Everyone works best when they feel supported by their team. Team building has been heralded as a way of encouraging better communication and teamwork between individuals for some time. There’s a reason why companies keep up regular activity days. They work.
Although it might push some people out of their comfort zone, when they get involved in the activity, they’ll soon let their hair down and interact with colleagues in a way you don’t always get the chance to in the office. Some great team building ideas include:
– Treasure hunts
– Cookery classes
– Escape rooms
– Traditional outdoor activities
3. Encourage staff to spend time doing things they enjoy
Achieving a work life balance is something we’d all like to do. But shutting off when you leave the office is easier said than done. As an employer or manager, this is something you can help your staff with. Make it the norm for people to set time aside for what they enjoy – whether that’s family outings, exercise or simply watching a good film.
When people clock off, they really should be able to get on with stuff that allows them to unwind and forget about work responsibilities. To do so, everyone needs realistic boundaries between work and non-work items. That means you don’t need to check your emails once you’re at home, or when you’re on holiday.
If possible, implement a flexible approach to working hours. If someone wants to work out in the mornings, allow them to make up the time later on in the day. In fact, flexible working options are often used to entice potential employees and remain competitive as a company.
4. Minimise time-consuming tasks
One of the simplest ways to lower stress levels is to reduce someone’s workload. If you’ve got employees doing basic office tasks, whose time would be better spent elsewhere, then you should consider outsourcing some of those jobs. That’s where we can help.
If you need help processing your orders, as an expert fulfilment company, we can take the task off your hands. We’ll be the UK-based distribution point for your business and can ensure all orders will be processed in an efficient and timely manner.
We also offer a mail fulfilment service – so whether you’re sending out a one-off campaign or regularly dispatching letters, we’ll take the burden off your employees. It’s one less thing for them to think about. As a result, they can focus their attention on other business critical matters – but your customers and contacts still receive the necessary information.
5. Anticipate business needs of the future
When you’re preoccupied with the daily operations of running a business, it can be easy to forget about future-proofing. Ideally, you need systems in place that are capable of coping with anticipated demand before it arrives. If not, pressure will build as people have to cope with more work than necessary.
Take the time to think ahead and anticipate what your business will need to continue successful, stress-free operations in six months’ time. This might be outsourcing tasks, hiring new staff, or investing in new equipment. It will completely depend on the nature of your business.
But whilst companies may vary, they can all benefit by working out how to reduce stress at work. The improved satisfaction and happiness of staff has a real impact on businesses’ bottom lines – whatever the size of company. Use our ideas as a springboard for further investigation into what’ll work for your office.