Managing stress among staff is not an easy task for employers, especially amongst today’s COVID-19 pandemic. Tight deadlines, adhering to a strict budget, office politics or difficulties between co-workers are just a few of the origins of stress in the workplace. Yet, just as there is no one cause, there’s no one solution either when it comes to how to reduce stress in the workplace.
According to a report, Reducing Stress by the University of Washington, with data sourced from The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), employers can utilize various methods to reduce stress and create a happier work environment. Here are three of their key finds.
1. Revise or Create Workplace Policies and Best Practices to Reduce Stress in the Workplace
The report states that heavy workloads that aren’t achievable can create all sorts of stress. So, properly assessing an employee’s workload, managing their workflow and ensuring their responsibilities are reasonable given their skill set are just a few methods that can reduce stress in the workplace. In fact, the report suggests employers or managers:
- Provide the chance for an employee (when possible) to have more control over their work pace.
- Engage leadership to employees, as well as middle managers and supervisors.
- Ensure employees use vacation time to “disconnect” from their work environment.
- Create a zero-tolerance policy for harassment.
- Arrange training for employees and managers regarding resolution issues after a conflict arises.
2. Create Support and More Support
Taking on the majority of a project, picking up poor performers’ slack, or just having too much work or responsibility is a common cause of stress. The report suggests that to alleviate stress, introducing workplace wellness programs such as walking groups or physical activity challenges as they “have concurrent benefits of increasing physical activity, social interaction, and team-building.” As a result, these activities can help an employee realize that co-workers or managers do care, thus, in turn, reducing stress in the workplace. When they see the added support, they are more productive. Additionally, stress can be reduced when an employee is recognized for achievements with verbal comments, monetary rewards, or even written acknowledgments.
3. Increase Communication to Reduce Stress
If all else fails, communication is always best to help reduce stress in the workplace. According to the report, getting employees involved in open discussions of work-related stresses can be beneficial. In addition, it can result in a better understanding of the employee’s concerns and causes of stress.
Recognizing and reducing stress in the workplace is essential for any employer, director, or manager/supervisor. It helps create a more harmonious work environment and increases productivity to move forward and effectively meet company goals.
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