Keeping Stress at Work in Check

Helping your employees deal with stress in the workplace can ultimately lead to greater productivity as well as motivating employees to perform better. Stress can sidetrack employees and prevent them from doing their best. Stress at work may come from significant workload, pressing deadlines and time management issues. When workplace stress feels overwhelming, the following are some simple steps managers and employees can take to reduce the pressure.

How Managers Can Help Their Teams Reduce Stress

With so many responsibilities, projects and tasks to implement in a given day, it’s easy for employees to lose a sense of priority and simply jump from one thing to another. Sometimes the most complex and difficult tasks are avoided in favor of completing the smaller jobs. One helpful way to help alleviate stress is for managers or supervisors to develop daily or weekly to-do lists for their teams based on organizing tasks, defining goals and setting reasonable timelines.

Step-Out a Complicated Project

For complex projects, managers should consider breaking them up into sequential steps. Thus, where you can divide a project into discrete phases, you can provide specific direction to your team, helping to maintain a calm environment and motivating them to complete their tasks.

Start Delegating

Truly delegating tasks is another way that a manager can reduce his or her own stress. Allocating an important task to one or more employees, only to end up micromanaging his or her every move, defeats the purpose of delegating. With solid planning and open communications, employees will be ready to “run with the ball”.

Help Alleviate Worry about Job Security

One of the major sources of stress for employees — especially in today’s challenging economy — is job security. Worrying about whether another round of layoffs will be coming can definitely increase stress and drain positive energy. One step to reduce stress is clearly communicating to valued employees about their future with the company.

Your communication with employees should also include an ongoing conversation about their individual roles. Employees may be able to help identify new ways that they can contribute. Even just giving employees an opportunity to express fresh ideas and ways to improve or enhance the company can make them feel valued and important. Similarly, showing employees recognition for achievements can increase their confidence as well as reduce stress related to their workload.

Tips for Reducing Stress Everyone Can Use

Finally, the following are some simple tips everyone can use to lower the stress level and increase productivity:

  • Make Time for Meetings and Completing Tasks – Segment your day to allow for meetings and the time necessary to complete tasks. It is very easy to lapse into scheduling meeting after meeting and not allow for the time necessary to actually complete your work. Blocking out time to complete a task on your calendar is just as important as allocating time for meetings.
  • Avoid Setting Unrealistic Goals – When you strive to be perfect or try to achieve unrealistic goals, you could be setting yourself up for even greater stress and the risk of failure. Instead, set achievable goals with reasonable timelines. Remember with each successful task you achieve, your sense of accomplishment will grow while your stress level will be reduced.
  • Schedule Time for Exercise – Regardless of how busy your schedule is, it is vitally important to get into an exercise routine. Whether you enjoy aerobics, jogging, walking, biking or any type of exercise, a regular routine will help reduce stress and recharge your batteries for the challenges ahead.
  • Keep Your Sense of Humor – Laughter can be one of the best stress relievers of all. When things start to get too intense, it could be time for a little humor to lighten the load.