Getting the most out of your team requires a significant amount of savvy and tact. You have to play many roles, from leader to confidant to coach. Sometimes, you also have to fill the role of the therapist. The ability to reduce stress for your employees leads to significantly better results. It’s worth your time to consider the emotional side of management.
After all, stress can significantly impair your team’s ability to succeed. One study suggested that U.S. businesses lose $300 billion a year as a result of over-stressed employees. (It cited the increased cost of health care and missed work days as the primary contributors.)
With substantial long-term savings as your incentive, stress-reduction should represent a significant priority. But how can you do it? What steps can you take to lower the anxiety levels in your office?
Here are a few tips to help reduce stress for employees:
Keep Workloads Manageable
We know. You want output as high as possible. You have deadlines to meet and clients to serve. However, overworking your staff to meet short-term production targets only hurts you in the long run.
Instead, take a long view of the matter. Rather than piling on the overtime (and threatening people’s health in the process), maintain manageable workloads. Make sure your staff doesn’t get overburdened and you could actually improve your longer-term capacity.
Building a rapport with your staff will help keep stress under control. Healthy communication will prevent uncertainty and misunderstanding. It will also give your employees a chance to correct issues that are causing frustration.
As part of this commitment, set expectations and production timelines well in advance. Keep these benchmarks are transparent, so your workers know what to expect. And make sure any communications with your staff remain professional and constructive at all times, even under stress or (possibly especially) when you need to offer criticism.
At the same time, encourage your team members to provide feedback. This will give them a constructive outlet for complaint, and you’ll be able to deal with problems before they begin to fester. Strong two-way communication also provides a source of new ideas.
Host Social Events
You can also alleviate stress the old-fashioned way: with a party. Get your team together of a happy hour, or host the occasional celebration in the break room.
These events give your employees a chance to blow off steam. They also bring your team closer together. Your workers will feel more comfortable with each other, eliminating some of the social anxiety that can cause workplace stress. At the same time, the closer friendships will make the working environment more pleasant in general.
Offer Flexible Schedule
A healthy work/life balance can help reduce stress. After all, some of the mental toll caused by our careers comes from the sacrifice we make in our personal lives. One study showed that 20% of workplace stress stemmed from the tension between work and home lives. By helping your workers manage this tension, you eliminate a potential source of anxiety.
Flexible schedules can help you achieve this goal. By giving your workers some say into when they work, you let them organize their lives more effectively. As result, they become happier, more well-adjusted workers.
Support Days Off
Finding the right work/life balance isn’t just about finding the right time to work. It’s also about taking time off entirely. While losing members of your team for a few days might seem like a burden in the short term, the long-term mental health benefits should help make the vacation a net positive for the company over the long haul.
For that reason, encourage your employees to take vacations. Don’t just tolerate days off. See them as a long-term benefit both for your workers and for you. Your team members will get a chance to de–stress and decompress. They will come back ready to work, recharged and primed for more productive output.
Keeping stress levels under control will help you achieve the highest levels of output. Creating this positive atmosphere gets easier when you have the right staff in place. Working with a strong recruiting firm, like SmartTalent, lets you find the workers you need to create a reliable, dynamic team.
Contact SmartTalent today to learn more.