April 2nd, 2019 | Posted by The Alternative Board Ireland
Everyone experiences stress at some point, but when it occurs in the workplace, the effects can become dangerously widespread. Job performance is diminished, productivity lessened, and if left unchecked, stress can dominate the entire environment and impact a business’s capacity for growth.
On the other hand, a company culture dedicated to employee health and well-being often sees a spike in productivity, higher morale, and a greater willingness to contribute above and beyond one’s job responsibilities.
It seems, therefore, that businesses have a genuine stake in helping ensure that stress be kept to an absolute minimum in the workplace. Here are suggestions for achieving this laudable objective:
Be aware of signs of stress. Some employers either neglect to track employee well-being or simply miss signs that stress is creeping into the environment. But once you start looking, signs of stress or overwork can be fairly easy to spot:
- Employees working long hours (after it’s time to go home)
- Projects completed in a rush, with subpar results
- A workplace atmosphere that feels tense and irritable
- Decreasing levels of focus and attention in staff meetings
Generalsense of discouragement in the workplace
- Increase in the levels of staff churn, particularly good performers.
Any of these signs should serve as a warning, but if you detect more than one, it’s time to take action.
Promote physical activity. We all know human beings simply aren’t designed to sit at a desk for hours at a time. But unless it’s approved by senior leadership, your hard-working team isn’t inclined to take a badly needed break from their duties and move around.
Even a little bit of exercise, such as walking at a brisk pace around the block /estate can alleviate stress and improve focus. Encourage workers to take regular breaks that involve some minor physical activity or consider offering discounted memberships in a local gym. Some of our progressive members use the services of local Dublin based companies like Zevohealth who both continuously measure the health index of your workforce and manage the provision of health services to your staff.
Be transparent (as much as possible) about
A common source of stress is confusion and anxiety about changes affecting the workplace. Employees who lack any concrete information about such changes fall victim to rumours and gossip, which only increase stress levels and diminish productivity.
Keeping employees updated is critical because there is nothing worse than being kept in the dark. In an atmosphere of open communication, employees are more likely to “share concerns, ideas, and thoughts, making for much stronger working relationships and
Demonstrate your appreciation for employee contributions. When employees feel their work isn’t valued, they experience stress about their future with the organisation. Taking time and perhaps incurring some minor expense to show your appreciation is well worth the effort, when the result is less employee stress and greater productivity. Here are effective ways to show employees that they matter:
- Provide written recognition and share with the entire workforce
- Give employees “pet projects” that move the business forward
- Show interest in their lives beyond the workplace
- Host an employee appreciation lunch
- Provide regular, constructive feedback on their job performance
Demonstrating appreciation improves your company culture, boosts morale, prevents costly turnover and benefits your bottom line.
Encourage the use of unpaid leave and annual leave. In some corporate cultures, employees feel that taking time off will somehow work to their detriment. Make sure you’re not sending the wrong signals (i.e., never stop working) by actively encouraging employees to use their annual leave time to get away from the work environment and “de-stress.”
At the same time, it’s smart to ensure you have “adequate back-up procedures, so employees don’t feel obligated to stay in the office” and to discourage employees from “checking in while they’re away.”
Finally, keep in mind that employees always follow your lead. Make it clear, by both your actions and words, that promoting a stress-free environment is a company priority. You’ll likely see an upswing in morale and productivity when this message comes across loud and clear.