A Guide for Business Owners and Employers: How to Reduce Stress in the Workplace
Have you noticed a decrease in employee productivity, higher rates of sickness, or extended leave in your workplace?
This could be because your staff are simply too stressed to function at work!
A recent study by The Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development (CIPD) found that stress was one of the biggest contributors to a rise in workplace absences over the past year, with 76% of respondents having taken time off work due to stress in the past year – the highest number in 10 years!!
But why is this? And what can we do to change it?
Rachel Suff, senior employee wellbeing adviser at the CIPD, said: “External factors like the COVID-19 pandemic and the cost-of-living crisis have had profound impacts on many people’s wellbeing.”
COVID-19 caused more isolation, increased feelings of loneliness, saw people’s working lives change, and thousands of people across the nation lost loved ones. Since then, the world may have gone back to ‘normal’ but many people’s emotions and mental states haven’t.
We are seeing more disengaged employees than ever and it is affecting our businesses, but there is only one thing we can do in order to tackle this stress epidemic head on….
- Understand why
- Provide empathy and compassion
- Adapt in order to overcome
Our Founder and Director, Tiffany Briggs says ‘As a business owner, I understand the critical role that our employees play in the success of our organisation, and because of this their well-being and job satisfaction are of utmost importance to me. Managing employee stress is not just a matter of compassion; it’s essential for maintaining a productive and harmonious work environment. And, I’m proud to say LINKS does whatever it takes to ensure our employees are happy.’
So, if you’re a business owner, or you manage a team, here are some ways you can effectively manage, and avoid stress in your workplace:
1. Create an Open and Supportive Culture
One of the fundamental steps in managing employee stress is to foster a culture of open communication and support. Encourage your team to speak up about their concerns, both personal and work-related. Let them know that their well-being matters and that you’re there to listen and assist. This open dialogue can lead to early identification and resolution of stress-related issues.
2. Offer Work-Life Balance
Balancing work and personal life is crucial for reducing employee stress. Encourage employees to take their earned holiday time and utilise flexible work arrangements when possible. Ensure that they have the opportunity to disconnect and recharge when the work day is over. When your team feels they can manage their work and life responsibilities, it can significantly alleviate stress.
3. Recognise and Reward Achievements
Acknowledgment and appreciation go a long way in reducing employee stress. Recognise and reward your team for their hard work and achievements. Publicly acknowledging their efforts can boost morale, making employees feel valued and motivated to excel. A little recognition can go a long way in reducing workplace stress.
4. Provide Professional Development Opportunities
Investing in your employee’s growth and development is a win-win situation. Offering opportunities for learning and advancement can reduce stress as employees feel they are progressing in their careers. This also equips them with the skills needed to cope with the demands of their roles more effectively.
5. Promote a Healthy Work Environment
A clean, well-organised, and safe work environment is essential for managing stress. Ensure that your workplace supports physical and mental well-being. This might include ergonomic workstations, access to natural light, or relaxation areas. A comfortable and safe work environment can significantly reduce stress levels.
6. Encourage Regular Breaks
Encourage your employees to take regular breaks during the workday. Short, frequent breaks can help refresh the mind and reduce physical strain. This simple practice can contribute to a more relaxed and focused workforce.
7. Provide Stress-Reduction Resources
Consider offering resources to help employees manage stress effectively. This might include access to wellness programs, yoga or meditation sessions, or confidential counseling services. Providing these resources demonstrates your commitment to their well-being.
8. Lead by Example
As a business owner, you set the tone for your organisation. Lead by example by managing your own stress effectively. Your ability to maintain a healthy work-life balance, manage stress, and communicate openly will inspire and guide your team.
Managing employee stress is not just an act of kindness; it’s a strategic decision that benefits both your employees and your business. A less stressed workforce is more productive, creative, and engaged, leading to better results and a positive work environment. Remember that stress management is an ongoing process, and by implementing these strategies, you can foster a workplace where your team can thrive.
Together, we can create a happier and more productive work environment for everyone.