Charlie Fletcher May 23rd, 2024

Leading the Way to a Stress-Reduced Workplace

Today’s workplace can often feel demanding. Technology has made life easier in many ways, but it’s also created greater and faster expectations, leading to an increase in workplace stress. That stress impacts everyone in the working world, including leaders and their teams. 

Unfortunately, stress can wreak havoc on a workplace environment and the overall well-being of employees. Finding ways to reduce stress at work will not only benefit your team’s mental and physical health, but it will also help to boost team morale, productivity, and overall success. 

When you focus on stress reduction, you’ll create a work environment that people actually enjoy. That can help with longevity, retention, and recruitment later on. 

Finding stress-reduction solutions for the workplace doesn’t have to be a stressor, itself. By prioritizing some tips, techniques, and changes, you can create a happier, healthier workplace while reaping the benefits as a business. 

Why Is Stress So High? 

There are plenty of factors that can contribute to stress in the workplace. Some are professional, some are personal. The reality is that you never really know what’s going on in someone’s personal life that could be causing them to feel overwhelmed or anxious. When they come into a workplace environment that is stressful, chaotic, or toxic, they could end up burning out quickly. 

Not sure what could be causing low morale within your business? Some of the common factors include: 

  • Disconnection
  • Micromanagement
  • A lack of collaboration
  • Exclusivity
  • Lack of feedback

Employees who feel overworked and underappreciated are also more likely to be stressed. An overworked employee who isn’t being recognized is more likely to experience burnout. Unfortunately, that can create a sort of vicious cycle. The more burned out an employee feels, the less likely they are to feel passionate about their work. Productivity and morale will suffer, and so will your business.

Are you piling too much on your team? Are you looking over everyone’s shoulders more than you should? Take a look at your own potential stressor contributions to determine what should be changed first. 

How Stress Affects Your Business

Not only can the factors listed above create more stress, but they can end up causing low team morale. That leads to unhappy, unsatisfied employees, and a business that might end up struggling because no one is motivated to do their work. 

Too much stress in the workplace can also lead to human error. Mistakes and setbacks are bad for business, of course. But, more importantly, employees who are on the brink of burnout due to stress are more likely to make mistakes that could get them hurt. Stress management is essential for reducing the risk of workplace accidents. Too much stress can cause your team to become distracted, and it can lead to miscommunication and even increased absenteeism. The last thing you want is sick or injured employees because they’re under so much pressure.

Finally, you have to consider productivity. When you feel stressed, what do you accomplish? Probably not much. So, you can’t expect your team to meet deadlines or put out their best work when they’re feeling overwhelmed with stress. Pay attention to your employees and their workload and productivity. 

If you’re noticing things like a lack of energy or focus, constant worry, or reduced creativity, consider it a red flag. They might need less work, more flexibility, or different responsibilities. Keep in mind that stress from work could also be impacting their personal lives, creating negative changes to their personalities and disrupting their work-life balance. 

What Can You Do?

Recognizing that there’s a stress issue within your workplace is the first step toward making a cultural change within that environment. The next step is addressing the problems contributing to that stress. If you’re not sure how to address workplace stress, try implementing some of the following steps: 

  1. Provide education on stress management to employees
  2. Create and foster a supportive work environment
  3. Encourage open communication
  4. Promote a healthy work-life balance

Don’t hesitate to talk to your team about how they’re feeling and what their sources of stress might be. By making it a point to check in with everyone, individually, your employees are likely to feel more comfortable opening up. Not only will they share their struggles, but they might be able to give you actionable insight into what you can do to help. Some of the easiest ways to reduce stress in the workplace quickly include offering greater flexibility, promoting mental well-being, and providing workplace wellness programs. 

A wellness program can be very specific depending on the needs of your workplace. But, corporate wellness programs typically include things like fitness and health initiatives – including mental health. That might include insurance plans that cover therapy or counseling. You might even connect with local mental health organizations to provide resources to your employees when they’re needed. 

Again, consider asking your employees what would be most beneficial to their well-being. Some might suggest something as simple as more flexibility or more time off. Those are easy “fixes” that you can implement right away. While you might think more flexible schedules would lead to lower productivity, it’s usually the opposite that’s true. 

When your team is well-rested, happy, and they feel valued, they’re more likely to get more work done and take a lot of pride in what they’re doing. When you take those suggestions into account and actually include them as part of the program, your team will feel heard, understood, and appreciated. 

When you’re an advocate for a low-stress workplace, you will quickly gain a positive reputation in and out of the office for having a positive company culture. That can benefit your business and your bottom line more than you ever thought possible. A positive company culture can pave the way for increased job satisfaction, improved collaboration, a better company image, increased productivity, and, of course, reduced stress on employees. 

If you’re in a leadership role, consider it your responsibility to better understand the sources of stress in your workplace, so you can take quick and active steps toward reducing them. Your team will benefit, your business will benefit, and you’ll gain a positive reputation that can influence years of success and growth.

Featured image by Christina @ on Unsplash

Charlie Fletcher

Charlie Fletcher is a freelance writer from the lovely “city of trees”- Boise, Idaho. Her published works cover business, marketing, education, health, and more. You can find more of her writing on her Contently.

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