5 ways to help your employees beat stress and stay productive

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Photo by Drew Coffman on Unsplash

Stress affects people at work in many ways and the causes of stress are diverse. These causes can be associated with elements of the physical; environment, such as open plan office layouts, the way the organization is managed, relationships within the organization and even inadequate work equipment.‘ – Jeremy Stranks in Stress at Work: Management and Prevention

In addition to the negative repercussions of having stressed out employees, your business may be experiencing lower productivity and poor quality of output. It is both clear and obvious that some very cost effective strategies could minimize stress on the job and provide your employees with opportunities to reduce other stress related problems.

The pandemics, like our recent visitor COVID-19, continue to undermine our mental health. The prolonged experiences of unmonitored stress continue to cost businesses billions every year. This is because stress affects people’s health and productivity. The evidence of all this are the issues of absenteeism in the workplace and/or misuse of drugs/alcohol.

Below is a list of 6 ways in which you can help your company reduce stress for your employees while increasing the output of your business:

1. Provide an attractive and comfortable work environment

Provide an attractive and comfortable work environment whenever possible to reduce stress. Pleasant surroundings can do more for a person’s attitude than we often realize. Create a less formal atmosphere by adding plants or improved decoration, even if that is just in a rest room it will help.

It is very critical to ensure that the work environment encourages collaboration between members and free communication flow. Employees when in an environment where they can readily and easily voice out their concerns and challenges will readily deal better with uncomfortable situations in the workplace. Stress in this case is minimized at an organizational level.

2. Supply a quiet room for your employees to take their breaks in

Not the canteen or games room, this room should be separate from the normal “hustle and bustle” of the work-place. It will give your employees an opportunity of a quick 10 minute break from work and any work related stress that they may be experiencing.

This arrangement can work wonders, if your employees can have a place to unwind occasionally. Sometimes work can be frustrating and a need for quiet moments be useful for some people.

3. Instead of giving orders 100% of the times try to create opportunities for employees to make decisions

Sometimes job demands can be overwhelming, but if employees feel some level of ownership over what is done, experiences of stress can be greatly avoided. Instead of giving orders 100% of the time try to create opportunities for employees to make decisions that will directly affect their job performance. This gives them a sense of personal power and less stress because they feel they have some control.

4. Thank employees for work accomplished and recognize them for exemplary performance

This will give employees a sense of being appreciated for their contributions and can really be a motivating factor. A quick thank you will go a long way in reducing complaints and stress.

Stress at time is a result of not knowing whether the effort one puts in is really recognized. Be genuine and only thank when workers have worked well otherwise you will be rewarding sub-standard activities.

5.Go out of your way to create opportunities for the employees to meet, socialize and build relationships away from work.

Taking some time away from work can serve to give employees time to unwind a bit. Giving them a chance to think about non-work related things can be very profitable. Set up a football team from work where you gather and play once a week or maybe a book club for employees only.

Conclusion

Unmanaged stress can cost businesses financially as employees can be hospitalized and be a responsibility for their employers. On the other hand, although, it cannot be completely eradicated, with necessary initiatives to monitor it, some level of stress can actually be essential for effectiveness in the workplace.  

When staff realize you have their interests in mind and are doing all you can to improve working conditions they will respond and you will see an improved atmosphere and productivity.

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Teboho Polanka
Teboho is a Social Worker, Writer and Inspirational Speaker. He is in pursuit of MSc. in Managerial Psychology. Graduates are able to apply psychological principles and methods to tackle challenges in the work environment and provide effective practical solutions. Acting as industrial-organizational psychologists.