7 ways to reduce employee stress
Stress is a natural inhibitor. It clouds our minds, dogs our thoughts and ruins our focus. So when employees are stressed, productivity can go into decline. Worse still, if stress is not handled properly a vicious cycle can develop.
When productivity drops, there can be a temptation to pile on the pressure to ensure deadlines are met, but this will simply exacerbate the problem. In fact it is estimated that the cost of work related stress to UK businesses is half a million pounds a year. So for the sake of employee health, productivity and profit margin, it pays to deal with the problem head on.
And the most effective method of improvement is making comprehensive adjustments to work and work ethics. Here are 7 simple ways to reduce employee stress
1. Keep employees in the loop
An unpredictable working environment will constantly put employees on edge. Always ensure employees knows what is expected of them, what their responsibilities are and what their supervisor is there to help with.
2. Give employees more power over their jobs
Many major stressors come from our inability to control the things around us. If employees are being held responsible for the work they produce, they should have the power to decide how it is done too.
Deadlines are clearly an important factor when it comes to work, but as long as they are met, giving employees control over their working methods can improve their ability to manage tasks, boost confidence at work and increase job satisfaction.
3. Invest in up-to-date equipment
If your employees need equipment to complete their job, be it tools, computers, or simply chairs to sit on, it is important to make sure that it is up to the standard required.
Struggling with deadlines and having to deal with a slow computer, or coming into work every morning with a bad back from sitting on a cheap chair all day can easily cause excess and unnecessary stress.
4. Hire the right supervisors
Supervisors play an integral part in supporting employees. However, if supervisors are abusive, poorly trained or are simply not suitable for the job, they can be the sources of a great deal of worker stress.
So it’s therefore very important to hire supervisors based on skills, rather than seniority.
5. Provide chill out time and social areas
Stresses can build and build until they are just too much to bear, however a little relaxation can really do wonders for a stressed out head. During breaks, workers should have a place they can go to escape work stress.
Sitting at your desk doesn’t really help, as it’s the place where most stress is going to happen. Opening up a communal area can not only help employees escape stress, but it also creates a social atmosphere where workers that wouldn’t usually meet have time to get to know each other. The support of having others around you to relieve some of that stress can be an invaluable resource and one that should be utilized.
6. Ensure employees have the right training
They might be competent, they might have great skills from previous experience, but if they don’t know everything about how the business runs and how their work should be done, it can cause confusion and stressful situations. This is one of the primary causes of stress-related decline in productivity.
7. Listen to your employees
If you are noticing highly stressed out employees, but can’t work out why, don’t sit there scratching your head, just ask. Opening up a direct line to employees, allowing them to come forward to discuss stressors before they become a problem is by far the best way of avoiding difficulties in the future.