10 ways to help your employees overcome workplace stress

We all know what it feels like to get stressed out about something, and it doesn’t feel good. People get stressed out for a lot of reasons, but the workplace or a job is a common trigger. Stress isn’t just a mental or emotional issue, either – it can cause physical symptoms like headaches and stomach pain. Anxiety can get so overwhelming that it becomes debilitating, and as an employer, you don’t want to see your employees suffer. Reducing stress can help your business lower your employee turnover rate, plus make everyone happier. To help combat the everyday stress of the workplace, we’ve got a few tips.

1. Have customizable work schedules.

It can be really hard for employees to juggle their work and their personal lives, especially if they have kids they have to take care of. To help your employees with that balance, let them have some freedom with their work hours. Be flexible if they have to come in a bit late or leave a bit early and work with them to create a suitable schedule. Let them know that it’s not the end of the world if they have to come in at 9:30 instead of 9 a few days a week.

2. Encourage movement and exercise.

Let your employees know that it’s okay if they need to walk away from their desk to stretch their legs every so often. Encourage them to rejuvenate by taking a short stroll if they begin to feel overwhelmed. Exercise helps clear the head and increases focus. Yes, it might mean giving employees a fifteen-minute break to walk, but it’s worth it – your employees will be happier and more productive. Maybe you could even consider adding a ping pong table to the breakroom to allow your employees to take a quick mental break. Ping pong is also great for team-building.

3. Strive to improve communication.

Poor communication or miscommunication can lead to stress because employees might fret about what is or isn’t being conveyed. They might agonize over trying to interpret the message. If there is a miscommunication, the employee faces the stress of resolving the issue when the problem reveals itself. That’s why it’s so important to improve communication at your workplace by being clear and giving defined expectations. Make sure that everyone is on the same page and encourage employees to approach you with questions or concerns.

Having an open door policy is helpful to reducing stress because it encourages employees to approach you with issues they may be having, thus allowing you to help them and reduce their stress. It’s also important to keep interactions positive and to encourage, well, happiness. Be sympathetic to the stress that your employees are experiencing – anxiety is a very real thing, and even though it might be hard to completely understand what they’re going through, showing them genuine kindness can go a long way.

4. Have clearly defined job descriptions and expectations.

Employees need to know what they need to concern themselves with and what they don’t. They need to understand their responsibilities so that they’re not getting worked up over things that don’t even fall under their purview. Let employees know that they’re meeting your expectations and doing a good job, and check in to make sure they’re not getting overwhelmed with their responsibilities.

5. Implement a zero-tolerance policy for harassment and workplace bullying.

Being harassed or bullied is a situation no employee wants to find themselves in, and harassment and bullying invoke a great deal of stress (not to mention fear) in the victim. To help make your workplace a safe, welcoming place to work, make sure to take steps to prevent workplace bullying and prevent sexual harassment. Foster an atmosphere of mutual respect within your company.

Reduce stress by making your workplace harassment and bullying-free.

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6. Make sure that employees take their breaks.

What’s the lunchtime scene at your office? Do employees go out to eat? Relax in the breakroom? Or are they all still nose to the grindstone, working hard and barely looking up from their tasks as they sneak bites of tuna sandwiches at their desk? It’s really important for your employees’ mental health that they let themselves have a rest during the day, and that means taking advantage of their lunchtime. Encourage your employees to get some peace and quiet while they eat – think of it as lunchtime rejuvenation. Without regular breaks, it’s easy to get burned out. People are not robots.

7. Provide the tools your employees need to get the job done in a stress-free way.

Your employees can’t build a (figurative) bridge without wood, a hammer, and nails. You wouldn’t give someone a pool noodle and tell them to use it to pound the nails into the wood, right? Make sure that your employees have what they need to get their job done right – that way no one will be pulling their hair out in frustration. Ask your employees what would make their lives easier. They’ll thank you for it.

8. Don’t be a helicopter boss.

Don’t hover over your employees. That makes everyone nervous. Though of course, you need to make sure everyone gets proper supervision and guidance, don’t micromanage every detail of their work. Let them have some breathing room. It’ll bring everyone’s blood pressure down.

9. Encourage healthy eating.

Eating healthy foods helps keep energy levels up, which can make it easier to handle the demands of the day. Sugary foods and caffeine are great, but they can lead to a major energy crash and severe grumpiness. So, next time you want to treat your employees by bringing in snacks or breakfast, go with something that’s delicious and nutritious!

10. Set up the workplace strategically.

You and your employees spend a lot of time at work. So why not make the workplace welcoming and homey by decorating it to be warm and fun? It’s amazing how the layout and décor of a room can influence our moods and energy.

While we’re talking about the workplace, make an effort to keep the common areas neat and tidy. Clutter can be very anxiety-inducing, and keeping everything organized will help eliminate the frustration of not being able to find a paperclip when you need one. That’s a stressful situation, you know.

Reducing stress can lead to a happier, more productive workplace.

Stress is no fun at all. It’s hard enough to juggle the hustle and bustle of working and a personal life when you’re not overly stressed out about your job. That’s why as an employer it’s important that you understand what can trigger stress and take steps to reduce the work-related anxiety of your employees. Remember, you never know what’s going on in your employees’ personal lives that could be causing them additional stress, so take care to reduce the amount of stress at work as much as possible.

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