Every workplace environment can get stressful sometimes. The stress can manifest in your employees in different ways and having an understanding of where it comes from is crucial in order to combat it effectively. Work-related troubles can have significant health impacts on your staff – in 2018, 44% of all work-related ill health cases were connected to either stress, depression or anxiety according to the Health and Safety executive. On top of this, 57% of all working days last year in the UK were lost due to health-related issues. Undeniably, good mental and physical health in your staff will lead to more productivity and satisfaction, so let’s look at it a bit closer to see how you can keep your employees healthy and happy.
What exactly is stress?
Stress is the body’s reaction to feeling threatened or under pressure. Sometimes, this can be a good thing – a long to-do list with strict time limitations can actually force you to be extremely efficient and make you realise you can cope with certain high-pressure demands, making you feel accomplished at the end. However, it’s not so great when it gets out of control, making you feel anxious, irritable and unable to concentrate.
‘Good stress’ is more likely to occur to your employees when they’ve got some kind of anticipation of it and know that they’ve got the time and capability to achieve the goals they need to. By investing time into understanding the triggers of the stress and making your employees feel empowered to take on high-pressure situations, you can help reduce stress levels and in turn encourage your employees to think about their mental health and have truthful conversations with one another.
Recognising the triggers
As you may expect, the triggers for stress can differ from person to person. Organise one-to-one meetings with team managers to teach them to recognise common stress factors in the workplace and have honest conversations with their staff to understand if there are areas that need improvement. For example, some of the top causes of stress include increased workload in a short amount of time, bullying at work or not getting along with other employees, long hours, financial strains or long commutes to work. Monitoring your staff in these areas and coming up with ways to combat them will make a large impact on how stressful your business environment is.
How to reduce workplace stress?
There are many different things you can do to make sure your working environment is the best it can be. Some options will work better than others depending on the type of business you have, others may work more generally. Here are some examples of changes you can make today and things you can do to start reducing employee stress in the workplace:
1. Monitor staff workloads
As said, a little bit of pressure and strong deadlines can definitely improve productivity. Up to a certain point. If the pressure gets too much, it can cause stress, reduce motivation and reduce efficiency. Making sure your staff and their workloads are managed effectively means you can keep on top of any problems that may arise. Regular meetings with management and a culture of openness and honesty about stress will help. You may even want to introduce a buddy system at times of high demand, so employees look out for each other and the signs of stress.
2. Consider flexible working
Spending a long time in the office or workplace can be a stress trigger. Promote a good work-life balance and you are more likely to have happy employees that feel relaxed and comfortable to take on high-pressure demands. One way to do this is to consider offering staff the ability to work flexibly. Whether this is flexible hours or working from home, it gives employees a chance to do their work when they feel most productive along with the opportunity to enjoy their time outside of work, reducing stress both at home and at work. Less worrying about picking the children up from school or travelling at rush hour, and more time making the most their hours to focus and work.
3. Encourage regular breaks
Eating lunch at your desk may seem like it’s saving you time and allowing you to multitask, but really, it’s another excuse to not take a break. Taking time off from the screen to walk, eat or socialise with colleagues is more important than you think. Make sure your staff regularly take the whole of their allotted break time and get that very much needed time away to decompress. Even ten minutes out in the fresh air can do wonders to clear the mind and allow them to start work again with a renewed outlook. Taking the right breaks for lunch and tea is also good for morale and social interaction. Having that downtime during working hours can give an outlet to discuss any worries and enjoy some comradery between colleagues, so make sure you promote a well-deserved break time!
4. Offer alternative transport
One of the most stressful parts of the day for a lot of employees is getting to and from work. After being sat in traffic, not finding a parking space and concentrating on the road, many employees arrive to work feeling unhappy and distressed. One way to improve employee transport is to offer commuter services and offer them as an employee benefit. This way, your staff can get to work on time without the stress and worry of driving – or the unpredictable nature of public transport. It also shows your employees that you care about their wellbeing by making sure they have the amenities to get to work. We offer comfortable, direct and executive coaches with WiFi and USB plugs on board to help employers in the UK and South Africa keep their employees healthy and happy with an enjoyable commute. Get in touch with our team today to see how Zeelo can reduce your employee stress!
5. Provide well-being information
If stress is a known issue in your industry or type of business, it’s a good idea to get ahead of the game by offering well-being advice and information to your employees to prepare them for any situations where they may feel stressed in the future. Showing them that you are aware of the issues surrounding you and are ready to combat them also gives them a sense of security and comfort. There are many free resources available online that you can provide them with, or even include it in your training programmes. Why not arrange a well-being day where your staff can learn about coping strategies and how to alleviate any triggers? Your employees will appreciate the effort and will come back feeling more knowledgeable and ready to combat stress!
How will you reduce employee stress in your workplace?
As you can see, there are many ways to get ahead of any stressful problems that can arise in your workplace. By doing so, you’ll increase staff productivity and reduce sick leave taken off. So, whether you are taking away the stress of driving to work by offering commuter transport services, offering flexible working arrangements or managing workloads, there are lots of ways to reduce employee stress in the workplace. Start with educating your staff and the rest will follow nicely!