The workplace is known to create stress and as businesses start to go back to a physical office, after most working from home for nearly a year, workplace stress can be at a maximum. Stress in the workplace leads to not only health problems but also decreased productivity. You can take some simple steps to reduce stress in the workplace for both you and your employees.
Understanding Workplace Stress
Before you can reduce stress in the workplace, you need to really understand what workplace stress is and how it can impact you and your employees. Workplace stress is a real thing and can have a really big impact on your bottom line. Studies estimate that stress costs U.S. businesses an estimated $300 billion annually, and the workplace has been identified as the number one source of stress for American workers.
It has been found that 30% of employees are so stressed that it interferes with their work, making them less productive and impactful. Not only does workplace stress lead to decreased productivity, it can lead to health issues for you and your employees. Reducing stress in the workplace is the best way to keep an organization effective and energized.
Some Causes of Workplace Stress
Workplace stress can be caused by workload, lack of job security, and personnel problems, amongst other things.
Some of the factors that commonly lead to workplace stress include:
- Long hours
- Heavy workload
- Changes within the organization
- Tight deadlines
- Changes to job duties
- Job insecurity
- Lack of autonomy
- Boring and unsatisfying work
- Insufficient skills for the job
- Inadequate working environment and space
- Lack of proper resources and equipment
- Few growth and promotional opportunities
- Harassment and/or discrimination
- Poor relationships with colleagues or bosses
- Crisis incidents or other major events
How to Reduce Stress in the Workplace
The negative consequences from stress are so strong that it has been declared a World Wide Epidemic by the World Health Organization. Reducing stress in the workplace is key to your business’s success.
Here are a few ways to try and reduce stress in the workplace:
- Encourage Exercise and Wellness: Urge employees to take walks or exercise throughout the workday. Being physically active can improve a person’s mood and reinvigorate them. Have healthy snack options available to employees to enjoy throughout the day. It makes employees feel valued if they know you are looking out for their health and wellness. A study by Peapod.com reported that 66% of employees felt extremely or very happy when their employer regularly stocked the refrigerator and cupboards.
- Rearrange and/or Redecorate the Workplace: Much stress can come from the environment. Think about every aspect of your office space and what it does or doesn’t do. Simple things like the quality of the coffee or the height of the cubicle walls can affect employee engagement. Redecorate your office with a new color scheme, add plants, or new office furniture. If people who frequently work together aren’t seated near each other, move them closer together. If you know of employees who don’t work well together, separate them.
- Offer Flexible Hours and Remote Work: Let employees work hours that they are comfortable with. Not everyone is going to be a morning person and there will be some people who are less productive in the afternoons and evenings. Allow your employees to work remotely and give flexibility for start and end times. This freedom is great for office morale, and the policy shows employees that you trust them enough not to babysit and just have them at a desk just to fill a seat.
- Have Space for Break Time: Make sure you offer an area in your office space where employees can go to relax and step away. A small room, a lounge space, and/or a kitchen area with seating, can all be great places for employees to go to escape the grind and relieve some stress.
- Recognize Employees: One of the easiest things that you can do to reduce stress in the workplace is to give employees recognition. Employees love being praised for a job well done, and recognizing their success can result in a major boost in engagement. Understand that not all employees are the same so some may thrive from public recognition while others will benefit more from private praise.
No matter how you decide to do it, you need to reduce stress in the workplace. Current events can strongly impact a person’s mood and their stress level, and you need to try to make the workplace an escape from outside factors.
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