Stress at work is a familiar feeling for us all, and we all have different tolerance levels for it. While some may see others’ causes of stress as unwarranted, it’s important to be receptive of how they’re feeling and how it can impact their performance day-to-day.
Just recently, a study found that stress has reached record levels in British workplaces, with seven in 10 respondents citing it as the number one hazard at work, an increase from 67% in 2014. We also know from our own research that it’s not just workloads causing havoc – it’s toxic employees too. Our research found toxic employees have a negligible effect on their co-workers’ performance, but have a strong influence on stress and burnout rather than on day-to-day task completion.
With National Stress Awareness Day coming up on 2nd November, now’s the perfect time to think about strategies for improving what is a very real problem for many. So what can be done to help ease stress at work?
Support, of course
Building up social support and having strong relationships among co-workers can help workers manage stress in a more effective way. It can be as little as a casual conversation in the corridor to check in on how a team member is doing, or using more structured programs such as your company’s ‘employee of the month’ program or annual awards ceremony (if applicable) to recognise people’s successes.
Expectations versus reality
If you’re managing a team, when was the last time you reviewed each team member’s workload and if they’re achieving it in the time you expect? Make sure you check in regularly to ensure the work you expect to be done in a certain time frame is actually being done, and if it isn’t, find out why. Some tasks may be taking longer than expected or the employee may not feel they have the skills to complete it, so check in and re-evaluate as needed. If you’re the over-worked employee, keep a dialogue going with your manager on your workload and what you may need more time or help on and why.
We know from our research with IDC that flexible working and happiness at work go hand-in-hand, so use that knowledge to your advantage and ensure that your team can achieve a reasonable level of work/life balance. Trust your staff to work from home or remotely if they need some time away from the office to get things done. As long as you communicate expectations and deadlines, it should be very manageable.
These are just a few tips that can help ease workplace stress for employees, but there are many more methods for employees and managers alike. Find out more tactics for managing stress here.
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