How to handle workplace stress as a manager and for your employees
Stress in the workplace affects almost all of us. In fact, 1 in 3 people cite work as one of the most stressful factors in their lives, with only 9% of people claiming never to experience stress at work.
Managers are uniquely susceptible to stress since they’re responsible not only for their own well-being but also for their employees’ well-being.
The good news is that there are ways to manage stress that involve minimum time and financial output whilst maximising your and your employees’ productivity.
If you’re concerned about your stress levels or those of your colleagues, the tips below will help you to manage stress in the workplace.
Spot the signs of stress
Being able to recognise stress in ourselves or others is the first step in combatting it. Stress can often present itself physically in the form of headaches or frequent illness, difficulty sleeping, reliance on substances such as alcohol, or social withdrawal.
If you spot these behaviours in yourself, you’ll likely benefit from sharing your feelings with somebody close to you, and possibly taking some time off from work to rest and recuperate.
Likewise, if you notice that an employee is frequently absent, seems especially quiet, or displays apathy towards their work, it’s worth checking in to find out how they’re getting on.
If they admit to feeling stressed at work, make sure that they take regular breaks and support them with tasks that they find particularly anxiety-inducing.
Incorporate wellness into the workplace
The term ‘wellness’ can conjure images of yoga pants and matcha lattes, which seem alienating to some. However, the reality is that wellness is simply about practising healthy habits which lead to improved mental and physical health.
Incorporating wellness into the workplace can be as simple as offering healthy snacks for every worker on shift or ensuring that all staff have a quiet place to eat and rest on their breaks.
Meditation can be as effective as antidepressants in treating anxiety. With that in mind, organising a guided group meditation to take place once a week, even if it’s just for five minutes, could work wonders for the well-being of you and your employees.
Get some perspective
We’ve all been there. Whether it’s sending an email containing important details to the wrong client or receiving a terrible online review for your services, there are times at which a work project goes so badly it can feel like the end of the world.
The most important thing to do in these situations is to take a step back, breathe, and look at the bigger picture. When small mistakes happen, they can feel crucial at that moment; however, it’s always important to view them in the larger context.
So you’ve received a poor review online? There will likely be hundreds of positive ones to counterbalance the negative one, and you may be able to get in touch with the disgruntled customer and offer them a future discount as an apology.
So you’ve accidentally provided a client with incorrect information? Get in touch straight away to correct the mistake and apologise. More often than not, you’ll find that people will be understanding.
Form positive relationships
Conflict in the workplace is one of the most significant contributors to stress. To avoid clashing with your colleagues and employees, cultivate relationships built on mutual respect and understanding.
You can do this by rewarding hard work, creating a positive and motivational working environment, and approaching conflicts in an empathetic manner, avoiding shaming people who have made mistakes.
Your employees are likely to be much more productive if they feel understood and appreciated. Likewise, you’ll have an easier time managing the workplace if your employees genuinely want to be there. Remember, a simple ‘thank you’ at the end of the working day can go a long way.
Rest during your time off
It’s not only how we spend our days at work that affects our stress levels. It’s how we spend our time outside of work too.
Modern technology allows us to check our emails and receive calls from colleagues 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Whilst this accessibility is useful in emergencies, it often means we never switch off entirely from the workplace.
Making sure you use your leisure time for actual leisure is crucial to avoid burnout and stress. If you struggle not to check your work emails, delete or mute the email app from your phone on your days off.
Organise activities with friends and family in your free time to distract you from overthinking about work. When you’re at work, make sure to actually take your breaks and get some fresh air or a coffee. This commitment to relaxation during your time off will leave you well-rested for your return to the workplace.
Between them, these tips should allow you to achieve lower stress levels at work, and your business will likely benefit as a result.