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How Managers Can Reduce Stress in the Workplace

Managing stress among staff is not an easy task for employers. Tight deadlines, adhering to strict budgets 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.

According to a report, Reducing Stress by the University of Washington with data sourced from The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), there are a series of methods employers can utilize to reduce stress for its employees and create a happier work environment.  Here are three of their key finds:

  1. Revise or Create Workplace Policies and Best Practices

The report states that heavy workloads that aren’t achievable can create all sorts of stress.  So, by 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 alleviate stress. In fact, the report suggests employers or managers to:

  • 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.
  1. Create Support…and more Support

Taking on the blunt a project, picking up the slack of poor performers, or just having too much work or responsibility is a common cause of stress. To alleviate it, the report suggests 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 all help an employee realize that co-workers or managers do care. In turn, 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 acknowledgements.

  1. Increase Communication

If all else fails, communication is always best. According to the report, getting employees involved in open discussions of work-related stresses can be very effective as it can result in achieving a better understanding of the employee’s concerns and causes of stress.

Recognizing and reducing stress in the workplace is an essential task for any employer, director, or manager/supervisor. It not only helps create a more harmonious work environment, but can increases productivity to effectively move forward and meet company goals.

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