Workplace stress is unavoidable. People also bring their personal problems to work with them, which is understandable. However, job-related stress at a high level for an extended period of time is a problem that great leaders must solve. Such strain has negative effects on employees’ health and company performance.
The human body can manage short-term stress, which is the type of acute stress that comes with a major incident or a high-stakes or complex task. However, we are less successful in resisting the negative consequences of chronic stress, according to Mayo Clinic stress experts in their article Stress symptoms: Effects on Your Body and Behavior.
Risks in High-Stress Work Situations
- In 2020, nearly 80% of British workers will be affected by work-related stress. This is a 20% increase above the findings from 2018.
- Only 1% of people employed in the United Kingdom report that they “never” experience workplace stress, while 17% of them “rarely” do.
- The most typical reason for work-related stress (37%) is ‘work-related office politics,’” followed by “lack of interdepartmental communication’ (34%), and ‘the job performance of others (33%).
- The second most frequent reason for stress is ‘monetary/financial strain,’ which comes in at 60% (48% for family stress).
- According to a recent poll, the most common source of stress for those aged 45-54 is office politics at work.
- The most distressing problem for this age group is a lack of interdepartmental coordination (38%).
- The percentage of people who claim their company does not provide stress-relieving methods has decreased by more than half in the last year. But, with nearly 1 in 5 employees (19%) still claiming that their work does not have anything in place to help them cope with stress - there’s still a lot of work to be done.
- One in three people have anxiety as a result of work stress, almost half (43%) lose sleep, and one in five persons (21.2%) become comfort-eaters as a result of it.
- The use of mind-body techniques to relieve stress has increased by 6% over the previous year, according to a new survey. With ‘exercising’ (42%) and ‘talking about issues with family and friends (40%), the most popular strategies are less common than in 2018.
- The most popular strategies to reduce workplace stress, according to businesses, are as follows: Working from home policies (39%), flexible working hours (37%) and regular one-to-one meetings between employees and bosses (37%) are the most prevalent methods used by firms to manage employee pressure.
How can you implement a zero-tolerance policy? Several expensive consequences for workers and employers are frequently caused by long-term coping in high-stress work settings, such as:
- Problem-solving creativity is reduced
- Collaboration has been curtailed
- Reduced sense of team togetherness
- Significant productivity losses
- Significant quality problems
- Stressful employees incur 50% more healthcare expenditures
- Employees’ disengagement
- Absences are high
- High turnover may be a problem
- The deterioration of collaborative working relationships between team members
- Brand’s reputation is harmed
How Can I Keep My Staff From Becoming Overstressed at Work?
Key leadership talent is being able to handle team tension and your own stress. Inexperienced and inattentive bosses, on the other hand, frequently overlook their essential need to succeed in this domain of their job. There are a variety of methods for modelling good stress-management techniques for your staff and developing team habits that will help to reduce.
1. Empower Employees to Manage their Stress at Work
Stress is reduced when employees feel a greater degree of personal control. Stress hormones are released in the body in response to stress, which the body interprets as a danger to one’s well-being. When we believe we have adequate control over our circumstances and no longer face risk, our hormone activity is decreased. By supplying your staff with some key stress solutions:
Prioritising, delegating, and time-management training will take place. Provide training on how to handle stress at home and work. Teach them to monitor and address their stress levels regularly. Assist individuals in managing their stress and treating its effects.
2. Keep things honest and open at all times
Keep your team informed about what’s going on. Leaving people in the dark about key issues that affect their livelihood may result in a feeling of disconnection and uncertainty — both of which can be significant stressors.
To keep the team informed on what’s going on in managerial planning, reaffirm common goals and values, and dispel any notion of being left out, hold regular meetings. Highlight the company’s mission and gratitude for the employees’ efforts. Tell them about how well they’re doing in terms of performance metrics.
3. Be Polite and Friendly
Employees frequently report that their bosses ignore them unless they’re assigning a task. That perception of being treated as a nonperson in one’s workplace, where an individual spends the vast majority of his/her weeknights, is a major stressor. It’s also the source of an unhappy, unfulfilling, and degrading existence.
Arrogance is a trait that no effective leader should have. They recognise and respect others’ intellect and abilities. They are fair to everyone and make it clear that all workers deserve to be respected in the workplace and feel welcome, valued, and wanted there.
4. Encourage everyone to get enough sleep
According to a recent poll, 37% of employees do not get enough sleep. Sleep issues and stress can create a vicious cycle in which stress causes sleeplessness, which leads to additional stress-related problems as a result of lack of sleep. Stress hormones might cause the release of stimulant-like chemicals, disrupting sleep. Sleep deprivation can lead to:
Irritability, rage Motivation has been reduced Decision-making ability has been affected Reduced cognitive function Poor attention Physical coordination has deteriorated Productivity is reduced Increased mistakes The risk of workplace accidents is increased Professional and personal relationships will be affected
5. Invest in employee development programs
Employees who are searching for a new job may be experiencing a variety of emotions, including anxiety and stress. When employees cope in situations of uncertainty, they frequently leave due to their inability to find stability. Ensure that each person is placed in an environment that fully utilizes his or her talents and abilities while also recognizing outstanding performance.
Every member of your team should have a plan in place for growth. Hold meetings with everyone regularly to talk about their progress and provide them with clear instructions on how to continue along the path they’ve chosen for themselves. HR should be included, as necessary, in determining options for employees to learn and develop throughout their careers.
6. Expectations should be realistic
Successful leaders understand that imposing unreasonable goals or demands that are inconsistent with the company’s stated values or that go against the abilities of employees is just as stressful for them. Such expectations will almost certainly result in team disaffection, low morale, employee attrition, and spiralling costs associated with excessive staff turnover.
The secret to leadership success is simple: big, intimidating objectives and the will to achieve them are the very basis of leadership excellence. It’s all about leading in a manner that allows your team to support your vision while also allowing them to feel confident in their positions. Employees must be able to believe they can meet expectations.
7. Encourage two-way interactions
Communication should be encouraged. Pay attention to what they’re saying. Inquire if your employees have all they need to execute their tasks effectively. Be ready to hear their ideas, concerns, and insights on how to make things run more smoothly and comfortably for them.
Listen for issues that might have a negative influence on your employee retention or company performance. Whatever they are, they’re certain to be major sources of stress for your staff.
Remove roadblocks, address company problems, and provide individuals with the chance to overcome personal issues as needed. Encourage a productive workplace culture by promoting good relationships and fostering a helpful environment. Communicating about difficult subjects is an inexpensive approach to relieve stress.
8. Create a Relaxing Workplace
Having a space that people enjoy spending their days in can have a significant impact on how individuals feel less stressed and more ready to face difficulties. It may boost your sense of balance, giving you the most optimistic perspective on your employment.
It does not imply that you must provide a plush office for employees. It means that an overcrowded workspace, limited personal workstation space to focus on complex tasks, a lack of meeting area, loud noise levels, uncomfortable chairs, broken and malfunctioning equipment and furnishings are all insults to the professional pride of brilliant persons who will every day give their best, every day.
So, if necessary, implement a reservation system for meeting areas Unwanted furniture should be removed and broken items replaced To guarantee that everyone has the resources they need to succeed, we maintain and repair inferior tools Organise your activities to break free from a feeling of existing in a chaotic condition. Budget some new accent paint, attractive furniture items, new kitchenware, and other bits that may boost the working environment’s inspiration.
9. Don’t Apply Extreme Punishments for Failure
Naturally, everyone makes mistakes. As a result, it is normal for leaders in the greatest businesses to consider errors and failures as potential sources of innovative ideas.
Harshly punishing employees for mistakes not only raises stress levels, but also stifles creativity, risk-taking, and the potential innovative solutions that could have resulted in a more free and forgiving workplace.
Enforcing broad boundaries is crucial, but forcing people to work in dread of making errors while learning activities or processes, or attempting new ideas, is a self-defeating method.
10. Encourage employees to take the time off that is needed
According to reports, 80% of employees drag themselves into work when they are sick. Remind staff of the value of remaining at home when ill in order to recuperate, protect their health, and avoid the risk of errors and other problems that may occur.
Employees who have contagious illnesses should not be allowed to work onsite. Make sure that management personnel do not inadvertently make employees feel guilty about being out of the office due to illness. Set a good example by keeping yourself healthy and staying at home when you’re sick.
11. Allow your employees greater flexibility in terms of when and where they work
It’s counterproductive to demand that all staff adhere to a Monday to Friday 8:00 A.M.-to-4:30 P.M. schedule. While some individuals are most productive in the early morning hours, others prefer working in relative quiet after office hours have closed. Allowing employees the flexibility to determine their own work hours is a fantastic stress reliever.
Allow people to keep flexible work schedules if that is appropriate for your organisation’s structure. Measure the value of their decisions on their job hours and locations by tracking their levels of productivity and quality of output:
It’s more important to keep people happy when they set their own hours than simply having them sit at their desks during arbitrary hours as long as work is consistently completed in accordance with deadlines and quality requirements. Additionally, allow people to work from home if it does not have a detrimental impact on their job performance. However, make sure they are still connected to the team emotionally. Have them attend meetings and other team activities regularly.
12. Gather Employee Feedback in a Secure and Private Setting
Those who were placed in a high-stress situation had less stress than those working under low-stress conditions. They also reported feeling more stress when they didn’t know how long their workday would last or whether it was going to be extended again. This process might be frustrating, but knowing what to expect can make life easier for people.
Assist individuals in providing any concerns or unpleasant feedback that they may desire but are afraid to offer directly. You might want to conduct anonymous employee surveys regularly or hire your HR team for secret interviews to obtain critical information.
13. Exemplify a Healthy Lifestyle by Using Positive Behavior
It’s a cliche that has long passed its expiration date, but it’s as true and crucial today as ever - eating healthily and exercising regularly are critical components of a healthy lifestyle, which also includes stress management.
Physical exercise has mental and emotional benefits, lowers the risk of disease, builds the body’s resistance to a range of job-related injuries, and makes people generally happier.
Encourage employees to participate in wellness programs. To get everyone out of their seats for a few minutes in the morning and afternoon, consider organising an on-campus club activity to get people moving for a little stroll or stretching. Take the opportunity to challenge yourself and your group to try something new, like taking a walk outside or finding some other fresh-air pastime that would help increase circulation, foster team bonding, and provide stress relief.
14. Have Some Business-Social Events
Employees need time to get to know one another on a more personal level. Team members who are more familiar with one another are likely to work more collaboratively, generate more creative problem-solving concepts, and generally function more efficiently together. Simple social activities, such as getting together for lunch or coffee breaks, can be wonderful stress relievers.
For half an hour or so outside or in the break room, get everyone together for some easy, relaxing, or de-stressing activities. Look online for a variety of team social activities to get you started. After all is said on done, displaying good stress management skills at work is essential.
At work, measure your own words and activities. This isn’t to imply that you should present a cold, robotic appearance to your team. That’s the polar opposite of everything else on this list about making employees feel more at ease under your leadership. After all, you’re the person that the team is supposed to take their behavioural cues from at work.
Low Stress – Superior Quality Work Environment
When employees are under a great deal of stress throughout the day, it harms their engagement, burnout, and decoupling from the team. Using techniques from the above checklist can assist you in managing team tension while increasing operational output and quality of results, shifting corporate culture to a more positive working environment, improving employee satisfaction and retention.
It’s worth emphasising once again how important it is to handle your stress. It will assist you in being more successful and credible in your efforts to control team stress. Adopt self-management techniques that the most successful leaders have. Understand the importance of utilising time off with family and friends, being physically active, and relaxing during stressful periods.
Also, encourage your employees to use all stress-management resources provided by their employer.
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