A bit of stress in the workplace is probably always to be expected, but the levels so many employees are facing today are not. 11.7 million working days were lost to stress and anxiety in the UK in 2015/6 (source), with many citing workload expectations and a lack of managerial support as creating stress for them.
Clearly, workplace stress is a big issue. Any business leader wants their employees to be healthy and happy, but so many overlook ways to actually achieve a positive working environment, and stamp out difficulties. Stress need not be the drain on business (and employees) that it currently is – by having strategies in place to help employees minimise any workplace stress they may experience.
Create an open forum to safely discuss issues
Communication is always key, and particularly helpful in creating a positive working environment. Ensuring that employees have the ability to approach management about any concerns they may have is important – but do ensure that concerns are taken seriously, and that employees are aware that they will not be judged for their comments. Creating a feeling of safety is important, or else the idea of communication becomes almost meaningless.
Introducing remote working has proven to have many different positive outcomes for multiple businesses worldwide, and the minimisation of stress is just one. When it comes to stress at work, many employees struggle with long commutes, or the guilt of missing their children’s school plays. Others may simply find the regular grind too long or overwhelming, particularly if their work demands a high level of responsibility. Allowing employees to choose their own hours at times, work from home or simply take an extra hour off once in a while, can help boost morale, increase productivity and ehance engagement.
Everyone wants to feel welcomed and appreciated at work. When you’re demanding 100% from your employees, shouldn’t you be rewarding them well? From the simplest of perks (good coffee, free snacks) to more complicated reward schemes, providing perks for your employees will let them know they are valuable – a stress-buster in itself.
Green up the environment
Office plants are a cheap, but extremely effective way of helping employees de-stress. Research shows that workplaces with plants saw decreases in both sickness and stress levels, (source). Encouraging employees to take responsibility for the plants themselves can also be beneficial, since many people find tending to greenery a relaxing activity.
Technology has been the main catalyst for change in the workplace. With this change however, could come a level of stress: stress to learn new systems, the time it will take to get to grips with the introduction of new technologies. Technological shouldn't present a complex and stressful experience for employees. Technology should enhance employee working experience, reducing stress and aiding in improved performance levels, act as an empowerment tool, and increase collaboration and output ratios.
With the everchanging workspace environment, fluxuation of stress levels and the demands of business, designing and managing your workspace becomes highly important; something that cannot be ignored. Organisations are now taking note of this and implementing solutions to combat this.