Top 6 Tips to Reduce Workplace Stress
Workplace stress refers to pressure on workers. Stress arises when people lack control over their situation or have demanding positions that leave no room for error. People also experience stress if they don’t believe they can succeed.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that four out of every ten workers consider their jobs extremely stressful. At the same time, 25% of employees identify their work as their primary source of stress. These figures highlight the prevalence of workplace stress. Employers can use the tips explored here to reduce workplace stress.
1. Open Communication
Employees may feel they lack control over their situation if they can’t address concerns or make suggestions to resolve problems. Since lack of control causes stress, open communication can reduce stress. Open communication with employees enables them to address issues with colleagues and supervisors.
Sometimes, the act of discussing frustrations may alleviate stress. An employee may have a challenging client and wonder if they’re creating friction. Discussing the situation and verifying they’ve acted appropriately reassures the employee and prevents self-doubt from affecting their performance.
Creating a workplace communication strategy ensures employees can share concerns and suggestions. Employees feel valued when employers recognize their experience and welcome their input. Open communication fosters a team atmosphere. Working together to create a positive, productive environment alleviates workplace stress.
2. Organizational Counseling
Pursuing organizational counseling offers an analytical, objective analysis of your workplace and your employees’ stress levels. Organizational counselors use their assessments to craft a customized plan to improve the workplace and alleviate stress.
Instead of approaching stressed employees and treating workplace stress like it’s their problem, organizational therapists verify the source of workplace stress and address the root causes. The therapist can work directly with your human resources department and develops strategies to boost workplace morale and alleviate stress. Strategies may include training programs, employee recognition programs, and performance bonuses.
3. Paid Time Off
Prolonged or severe stress can trigger physical health problems. A stressful day may cause a migraine, but ongoing stress could cause serious health issues, such as high blood pressure. Ongoing workplace stress contributes to employee illnesses and medical leave.
Include paid mental health days in your sick time policy to alleviate stress levels. You’ll boost morale because employees know they can take a mental health day. Sick leave policies requiring doctor’s notes can prevent employees from taking the time they need to manage their stress. Forcing employees to lie about why they need time off can destroy workplace morale and create an adversarial relationship between you and your staff. Enabling them to take time off for their mental health demonstrates you understand the toll stress takes and care about their wellbeing.
4. On-Site Supports
Stressful situations can arise in any workplace. Providing on-site resources enables you to provide meaningful support to alleviate stress promptly. This could mean stepping in for an employee so they can take an extra paid break. Giving them some time away from a frustrating task or situation can help employees process their emotions while feeling supported and heard by their employer.
You can also provide access to a therapist, enabling employees to discuss stressful situations and receive support. Consider creating a room where employees can alleviate their stress through meditation. You could also install a soundproof stress room, allowing employees to vent their emotions in a safe space.
5. Proactive Planning
There may be times you can anticipate workplace stress. Perhaps an employee has a meeting with a challenging client coming up. Stop by your employee’s desk and drop off movie tickets or offer to pay for them to talk to a therapist. You’ll validate their feelings about the challenging client while motivating them to navigate their meeting.
Suppose you’re implementing procedural changes that will frustrate your staff team. Proactive planning can alleviate this stress. Draw on the benefits of open communication by holding a meeting and a forum, allowing employees to ask questions and share their concerns. Plan a staff outing or hire a caterer and a masseuse to provide on-site rewards while your team navigates the changes.
6. Flexible Work Policies
External factors may cause employees stress. Perhaps an employee’s frustrated by health issues and needs support to break bad habits. Instead of giving them paid time to see a therapist, you may suggest giving them paid sessions with a nutritionist. Rigid policies can prevent you from addressing the source of stress, but flexible policies provide practical help while showing employees they’re valued.
You may have employees coping with personal issues, such as lack of childcare or an ill family member. Offering remote work options or flexible scheduling may help them manage their situation, alleviating some of their stress.
Workplace stress can contribute to a lack of productivity, health problems, and poor workplace morale. Reducing workplace stress helps employers retain staff and creates a positive workplace environment.