5 ways to reduce workplace stress levels
Workplace stress can silently eat away at team stability, crunching away at energy levels, depleting motivation and increasing tensions between colleagues. When staff are worn out and burnt out, you’ll see increased staff turnover, decreased performance and higher absence rates.
Not only is it detrimental to the business, but it’s also a health risk. The link between stress and mental health is inextricable. And extended periods of stress lead to a sate of burnout, characterised by physical, mental, and emotional exhaustion.
Research shows that 79% of British adults commonly experience work-related stress. With this heavy weighted statistic in mind, it’s important we take steps to lower workplace stress levels.
Don’t let increasing stress levels slip by unnoticed at your workplace. When you take steps to reduce and maintain workplace stress, you’ll see cultural changes with an expansive impact. Here are five ways you can start to do just that.
1. Social events
Your teams are going to spend a good deal of time together. If bonds and connections are weak, disgruntlement can begin to arise. When deadlines are looming, and tensions are rising that’s when it’s essential for your teams to stick together and support each other through the challenges.
By hosting social events and team activities you encourage colleagues to get along with each other. This helps employees find greater satisfaction in their roles day-to-day, improving the atmosphere at work. Better workplace atmospheres lead to improved productivity, creativity, and collaboration. So when stressful times arise, you’ll be better equipped to come out stronger.
2. Review staff workloads
A lot of the time things are done in a certain way, just because it’s the way things have always been done. In time, outdated procedures and systems cause workloads to pile up. Staff can be bogged down with no direction, endless to-do lists and urgent demands from other teams. Without structure and order, efficiency slips.
That’s why it’s important to check in with staff members regularly to see how they are coping with their workloads, whether in a one-on-one or in a team meeting each week. Showing your concern for your employees’ wellbeing will encourage them to speak up should they need support rather than let the problem reach breaking point.
3. Improve recognition
It’s easy to overlook employee recognition. Yet this simple, cost-effective tool holds the power to increase productivity, loyalty, and employee engagement. If employees have put a lot of time, energy, and effort into a project it pays to be recognised for these sacrifices. It makes the efforts seem worth it, encourages employees to keep up the good work and improves resilience.
A simple acknowledgement and a well done lets employees know that their hard work doesn’t go by unnoticed. It could be setting up an Employee of the Month award, encouraging teams to celebrate their successes or congratulating individuals on achievements.
4. Wellbeing surveys
Employee stress levels can be difficult to measure at any particular point in time. Wellbeing surveys can help you to track the stability of stress levels. If you implement stress reduction measures you can gain an understanding of how these interventions have had an impact. A quarterly survey will allow you to slowly collate useful data that displays levels of employee wellbeing.
You can guess and estimate how employees might be feeling, but sometimes it’s best to ask the question directly and understand where you can make improvements. Involving employees in the process and communicating any changes you are making also helps them to feel engaged with the organisation and the way it operates. As a result, employees feel valued and that their position in the workplace matters.
5. Create a culture of support
Cultural changes make the biggest impact. Make your workplace one of support, of togetherness. Be open about your approach to stress in the workplace. Encourage senior leaders to adopt these attitudes too and spread the word as they often have the biggest impact.
If you have an employee assistance programme — or any other benefit — in place, make sure you’re signposting to it. Employees may forget the options available during times of need. But often, a friendly reminder can be all it takes for them to use the service. When you regularly communicate this to employees, it reinforces the importance of their wellbeing.
In partnership with Health Assured
Health Assured is the UK and Ireland's most trusted health and wellbeing network.