Three Ways to Reduce Stress in the Workplace
According to research published from the American Psychological Association, more than 36% of workers report they typically feel tense or stressed out during their workday, while 20% state that their average daily level of stress from work is an 8, 9 or 10 on a 10-point scale (10 being extremely high). What does that tell us? Stress at work is common. At some point or another, even the most healthy workplace cultures will experience stress. It’s simply a part of life. What’s more, as stress will inevitably impact you and your people, it’s vital to learn how to control your reaction to it or even better manage the potential situations that trigger stress in you and others.
Here are some ways to reduce workplace stress:
1. Explore The Common Culprits
What’s causing stress in your organization? Is it low pay? Unrealistic job expectations? Too heavy of a workload? A pervasive fear of being laid off? Lack of rewards or recognition? Develop ways to get honest feedback around the reasons people are feeling anxious or frazzled in the workplace. Consider a variety of strategies for developing clear communication channels around this aspect of your business. Routinely collect this information, using anonymous surveys, focus groups, team meetings, and more regular (not just annual) one-on-one performance reviews.
2. Own It If You’ve Got It
As stated, workplace stress is not unusual. But if you sweep it under the rug and pretend it’s not there if it is, this can harbor serious resentment on behalf of your employees. If you’ve done your surveying or can just outright tell it’s there and why it is, then let your people know you’re aware of it. Let them know you get that it’s problematic and that you want to do something to address it. This is not necessarily your fault, so don’t take it personally but do take some ownership in the situation to the extent that you commit to take corrective action around it. Do this and your people will respect you for it.
3. Commit To Change
Now comes the tough—but doable—part. If you’ve uncovered stress and the symptoms of it in the workplace you lead, make a commitment to help your people. For instance, if people are stressed from working long hours what can you do differently? Maybe you can finagle a way to reduce hours. But if not, perhaps provide resources and support for greater wellbeing that make working those long hours more manageable. Remember, when employees are stressed on the job, it harms morale, productivity, performance and results. Reducing or eliminating workplace stress is proven to benefit both your people and your company’s bottom line. Do this well, and it should work wonders in terms of making stress dissipate for you, too!
What are some creative ways you, as the leader, have effectively reduced your own workplace stress in the past?