Stress at work
Employers are required by Health and Safety law to protect their employees mental and physical health and two out of every five workers say that stress at work has affected their health. The causes of stress vary from long working hours, difficult bosses or colleagues, to poor working conditions.
Although it is impossible to remove every possible cause of stress and anxiety for employees to ensure they never feel overwhelmed by work, there are changes that you can make to keep stress manageable and provide support to employees who are struggling to cope.
Here are 6 top tips;
1. Lead by Example
Think about what message you are sending to your staff. Many workers, especially younger ones look to their employer for guidance on how to behave at work, so it is important to remember that you are responsible for establishing the culture of the workplace. Try to model a better work/life balance by working reasonable hours, taking regular breaks and having a life outside of work yourself.
2. Encourage Breaks
Make sure that your employees are taking breaks. Studies have shown that people are most productive when working in 90-minute spurts followed by a 20-minute break. This may not be practical, but you are likely to get better work from your team if you allow regular periods of rest.
Employees can be afraid to talk to their bosses because they don’t want to give the impression that they can’t handle their job. Effective leaders have an open-door policy and follow through with it. Listen to your employees with an open mind and focus on solutions rather than complaints. If employees know they can be honest with you, stress should become less of an issue.
4. Encourage Team Bonding
Work colleagues are our support system at work. If colleagues don’t communicate well then there are bound to be problems that cause stress. When a team is strong there is greater accountability to each other, better communication and trust. A team with good working relationships, that know they can rely on each other will have less problems that cause stress.
5. Create a pleasant working environment
Dirt and excess clutter actually contribute to stress and anxiety and makes it harder to get work done. Encouraging employees to keep the workplace clean will help reduce stress. Bring in a plant or fresh flowers, hang art on the walls to make the environment as pleasant as possible.
6. Allow flexibility or degrees of flexibility
Often what causes stress is not necessarily the work itself, but managing all of life’s responsibilities, including children, partners and household responsibilities on top of work. If you can allow employees to work from home or set their own hours will help them maintain the balance more effectively.
This article was written and researched by Abigail Stiles, Business Administration Apprentice
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