You can see it starting to take hold. Usually upbeat and chipper employees start to tense up. Conversations get terse. Pretty soon, there’s a blow up in the breakroom over who left a dirty cup in the sink.
In some circumstances, stress can be a good motivator. It’s the old “fight or flight” mentality at play. Put a little pressure on people and get their “fight” instinct going.
However, sometimes you get the “flight” instinct instead. If you run a stressful workplace, you’re rolling the dice with burnout and higher turnover. It can also play havoc with employees’ health, manifesting physically in ways that can cause long-term damage.
But helping your employees relieve stress isn’t just a compassionate thing to do. It’s good business as well. People can’t reach their highest potential when they’re constantly worried. Creating a comfortable work environment leads to higher productivity and a more efficient workplace.
Here’s three things you can do to help minimize stress for your employees:
One of your employees’ biggest stressors? You.
You probably don’t think of yourself as scary, but your staff might see things differently. Keep in mind that interactions with management (i.e. you) represents a key source of anxiety. Do what you can to alleviate that source of stress.
Make sure to keep in constant communication with your employees. Your expectations should be clear and consistent.
Meanwhile, keep communications pleasant. Don’t yell or condescend. Even when you’re delivering criticism, think about what you want to say beforehand and make sure that the conversation remains as constructive as possible.
Worries about management, worries about their careers, worries about the future of the company – these are the kinds of things that keep people up at night. You can do a lot to ease these concerns. By keeping employees in the loop about what’s going on – both generally and with their individual performance – you prevent uncertainty from taking hold.
Stress builds up. Soldiers and first responders run into sudden adrenaline-fueled, death-defying situations. But for most of us, the impact of stress comes slower, the result of the constant grind of the small-scale stressors.
Over time, though, this can create a dangerous situation. Think of a rubber band, constantly getting stretched thinner and thinner. Eventually, it’s going to snap.
Do what you can to avoid this. Encourage your employees to take short breaks during the day. If you see someone spending every lunch at their desk, offer to take them out to a leisurely meal at a nice local restaurant. Or if you see that someone has stayed late for several days in a row, suggest that the take a half a day on Friday to unwind a bit.
Encourage longer breaks as well. Vacations give people the opportunity to recharge and reset.
Build a Supportive Culture
Helping to alleviate stress at the office takes a constant commitment. It isn’t just about the occasional gesture. It’s about the day-to-day operations and how those impact people’s psyches.
No matter what, your employees are going to face deadlines. They’re going to have presentations and performance reviews. You can’t eliminate all stressful situations. But you can make the general vibe in the office as supportive as possible.
But what about your stress levels? If you can keep an even keel, it’s easier to make things pleasant for your employees. Key to this: good employees. With an efficient and competent staff, the workplace naturally becomes a better place to be.
Bonus Tip: Work with LaborMax!
By working with a top-flight staffing firm, you can get the type of employees that make everyone’s lives easier. Contact LaborMax today to find out what they can do to upgrade your workforce.