As the work culture and environment of our society becomes more demanding, fast paced and laden with pressure to perform, stress becomes an increasingly determinant in performance on both an individual and companywide level. In short, office stress is becoming a bigger and bigger problem and finding ways to curb the effects of this trend will ultimately enhance the quality of employee experience and work. In light of this, let’s take a look at some ways of combatting office stress.
A Culture of Kindness
There’s no need to rattle off a string of statistics. Suffice it to say that a lack of civility in the workplace has been strongly correlated with employees intentionally decreasing their level of effort, productivity and not surprisingly, their performance. Perhaps most significantly is the overwhelming majority of surveyed employees who reported their commitment to the company is hampered by a lack of civility in the workplace. So, as cheesy as it may sound, kindness counts when it comes to reducing work stress. If employees are provided with a welcoming work environment, where they can feel good vibes from their supervisors and coworkers, they are more likely to thrive in their work environment. This will prevent the stress that comes from working in a hostile environment from hampering productivity.
In jobs that require long hours, adherence to tight deadlines or high stakes situations, becoming burnt out becomes a frequently looming threat. Even in jobs where these characteristics are less prominent than in other fields, preventing employee burnout should never be placed on the back burner. We’ve all been there, right? You’re so wrapped up in a project that you forget to eat breakfast...and lunch. It’s the busy season, so you just do what needs to be done in order to make it happen - which means more hours and a lot less R&R. Buckling down may seem like a good way to get the job done, and hard work is certainly a key ingredient to any successful business, but it must not be done at the complete expense of self care. Maintaining healthy levels of stress and brain function depend in part on taking time for yourself.
In order to stay productive, employees need to take breaks from work. This includes short breaks and long breaks. Short breaks throughout the day for lunch and water can be important, to make sure employees are receiving the nourishment they need. Another benefit to taking a few short breaks throughout the work day is that it allows to employees to move around. Getting the blood circulating can help employees to get more out of the time they do spend at the desk. This can also help to decrease the threat of carpal tunnel. In addition to short breaks long breaks are important. They help employees to maintain balance in their lives. Typically, happy employees are more productive employees. Company retreats, office social functions, staying up-to-date with your bls certification and vacation days can all contribute positively to the self care that can be derived from long breaks.
Managers Manage Stress
It bears noting that both of the previously mentioned points can be directly influenced by management. That’s because bosses set the tone for stress management in workplace setting. The decisions they make can in a large part determine the workplace culture. They can often control how much self care is allowed or encouraged. How they manage stress becomes a model for how their employees manage stress. That is why leaders must become masters of managing stress. They must evaluate themselves, their stress triggers and their reactions. From this, they must find ways to create a healthier balance in their work lives. This could mean easing off the throttle of the raging type-A personality that may rule the office roost, allowing employees to see their boss as more approachable and concerned about their subordinates. This could mean delegating responsibilities to employees, thus lightening the load of the boss, allowing the boss to manage affairs more effectively and the employee to feel trusted. There are numerous ways this principle can be implemented. The point is, leaders set the tone. The opportunity to facilitate stress management in their workplace is theirs.