High levels of stress cause a myriad of problems for both employers and their employees. Stress causes illnesses, workplace accidents, employee turnover and absenteeism to the tune of $300 billion for American businesses, according to The American Institute of Stress.
So what are some ways employers can reduce stress in the workplace? Here are some ideas experts say will help:
Communicate Clearly and Often
Employees feel stress when they don’t know what’s going on. But it’s not just the date of the company picnic that employees want to know about. They want to clearly understand their job expectations and be told if they’re performing well. Encourage managers to keep an open line of communicate with their employees.
Don’t make your employees search to get the information they need. Having a central location where employees can learn about health benefits, education programs and support services is a big help.
Encourage Employees to Unplug
Employees should avoid checking and responding to work-related emails and texts when they’re off the clock. According to a study by the University of Kansas, when employees mentally detach from their work at night, they feel recharged to begin work the following day.
Meet — and Listen — in Person
Talking face to face is much more personal than sending an email. While electronic communication is handy for day-to-day matters, interpersonal communication is best when problems or concerns arise.
First, it shows the employee that you care about the situation and want to find a solution. Second, it gives employees a chance to offer a solution. Be sure to reflect back on what the person has said so it’s clear you’ve heard and understood their concerns. They’ll feel empowered and appreciate the meaningful interaction.
Minimize Technical Obstacles
It sounds simple, but make sure the office’s technical equipment is up to date and works as intended. Employees feel stressed when they can’t perform their jobs because a computer isn’t functioning properly or the copier is on the fritz.
Promote Social Activity
An “all work and no play” mentality creates stress and burnout. Encourage connections among employees through social interactions. Create an office softball team and play in a community league. Host a potluck luncheon once a month and ask employees to share their favorite dishes.
Research from the National Institutes of Health shows that having supportive family and friends helps people manage stress better. Creating tighter relationships among your employees should help them cope better during stressful periods.
Easing workplace stress will lead to happier, healthier and more productive employees. What are some of your favorite ways employers can reduce stress?