No workplace can avoid stress completely. Trying to get things done with limited resources and with tight deadlines (you know, any business venture) naturally leads to tension and strain.
However, it’s important to keep it in check. Too much stress becomes seriously counterproductive. It leads to increased sick days and diminished morale. Meanwhile, these factors ultimately contribute to lowered output and higher turnover.
So, what can you do? Here are five steps you can take to help your employees avoid and process stress. That way, you can keep turnover low and dissatisfaction at a minimum.
Provide Manageable Goals
A major source of employee stress: you. After all, you set the tone and provide the source of the office vibe.
As such, you need to be conscious about how you set deadlines. Setting aggressive goals might boost near-term output by forcing your staff to hustle to get things done. But this can hurt team spirit in the long run. You risk increasing stress levels and alienating your workforce.
Instead of pushing for every last ounce of productivity, take a long view. Set manageable targets that your workers can attain without turning themselves into emotional wrecks.
Promote Open Communication
Stress festers in silence. Employees tend to internalize tension, keeping it bottled up until it bursts out in unexpected ways. It can manifest as diminished performance, in lingering health problems, or as unexpected outbursts.
You might not even know there’s a problem, until it becomes suddenly, excruciatingly obvious.
You can stem this process by keeping the lines of communication open. That doesn’t mean you have to set up a psychiatrist’s couch in your office…just foster an environment where your workers can give you open feedback and address their problems before they boil over.
Encourage Time Off
In the moment, worker vacations feel like an annoyance, a burden that slows down projects and eats into output. You might subtly (even subconsciously) discourage your workers to take vacations. Maybe you’re not even that subtle.
However, like many of trade-offs we’ve discussed so far, providing adequate rest can help productivity long term. Keeping your employees from their well-earned vacations might actually hurt output over time.
Stress builds up over time. By encouraging periodic breaks, you can prevent a dangerous accumulation.
Offer a Flexible Schedule
Stress might not come directly from work. It can come from the way work intercepts with the rest of a worker’s life. For instance, an employee might not mind long hours, but the way those long hours impact their home life becomes a key source of stress…which eventually bubbles up at the office.
Providing a flexible schedule encourages a more sustainable life/work balance. People can negotiate workable tradeoffs between home and the office, allowing them to diminish their overall stress.
Keep Feedback Positive and Constructive
Your team members aren’t the only ones affected by stress. It can eat at you as well. You might start to feel worries tighten in against you, making you short-tempered and irritable.
We’ve talked about a few ways to deal with the strain already. Talk to someone about it. Take a short vacation. Work a day from home. One important rule to keep in mind: don’t take it out on your employees.
Keep your emotions in check. Even if things go wrong, stay calm and professional. If you have to correct someone’s performance, do so in the most positive and constructive way possible. Ultimately, it’s the most effective way to achieve your goals. Plus, your ability to handle stressful situations will set the tone for everyone else.
Creating a healthy work environment gets easier when you have the right team in place. Competent, productive workers get projects done with the minimum of difficulty. And finding these staffers gets easy when you work with a top-flight recruiter, like SmartTalent.
Contact SmartTalent today to find out more.