The American Institute of Stress found that 46% of employee stress was a direct result of their workload, with coworker concerns coming in at 28%, then juggling work and personal lives at 6%.
Excessive stress and burnout will cause your employees’ productivity and performance to falter and can even greatly negatively impact their physical and emotional health. And let’s not forget that burnout and employee stress costs the United States over $300 billion annually in absenteeism, turnover, lower productivity, and medical, legal, and insurance costs.
What are some common causes of workplace stress?
- Fear of being laid off
- Staff cutbacks lead to way more overtime
- No control on how to do your own work
- Too much pressure to work at the highest level, all the time
- Too much pressure to meet rising expectations with no increase in job satisfaction
The best managers are not just aware that employee burnout and stress are very real threats to the bottom line, but also to their company culture, their customers, and their employees. In order to reduce employee stress at work, managers should take the following tips into account and start executing them as soon as possible.
How to make your job less stressful for your team
1. Create a work environment that lowers employee stress
Employees are more likely to move into fight-or-flight mode when they’re put into high-stress situations, such as a hectic workspace, fuzzy expectations, and unrealistic deadlines.
Whenever employees feel threatened, their more emotional and primal part of the brain takes over and this leads to a decrease in making effective, long-term decisions. When employees stay in this mode for too long, they will eventually become burned out.
How can a manager then reduce employee stress at work? You must build a secure and healthy work environment that regularly incorporates stress reduction habits into your employee’s day-to-day operations.
2. Encourage regular breaks
90-120 minutes. That’s how long our brains can function before needing rest.
As such, managers must encourage their employees to take breaks every couple of hours. Getting up and away from their desk to take a short walk, to stretch, to eat a snack, to scroll on social media, anything that gets them up and away from their desk. When your employees can rest their brains and move their body then they have more mental space to execute their job well and consistently.
3. Private workstations can lower employee stress
If you have an open office then expect your employees to be more prone to distractions, increased stress, and decreased productivity. Such a layout has a built-in expectation that team members are always available for impromptu meetings and discussions.
Without private workspaces, your employees don’t have anywhere to go for better focus or decompressing. Allocate signals like “do not disturb” signs, a designated space or office employees can schedule for themselves if an open office cannot be changed, or consider scheduling “quiet hours”.
4. Ensure psychological safety
If any of your employees perceive the workplace as a threat, then you cannot build the trust that everyone needs in order to collaborate and innovate effectively.
Amy Edmondson, in her book The Fearless Organization, describes three steps managers can take to build psychological safety:
- Provide your employees with clear goals.
- Ensure your team is heard and that you really want their voices to be heard.
- Build a work environment that is challenging and unthreatening at the same time. Start by letting your team know that it’s okay to fail, give recognition, and provide feedback on a regular basis.
5. Communicate with your employees
A study of 2.5 million teams reported that, when managers communicate on a daily basis, employees are actually three times as likely to be engaged than when their managers don’t communicate regularly. As such, communication is the key to help reduce employee stress at work.
Managers should conduct weekly “check-ins”, create channels to communicate effectively (from one-to-one chats, team meetings, video calls, or open forums), allow employees to share feedback and ideas, and must encourage two-way communication.
All of this is made possible when you use the right tools to communicate and collaborate with your employees as you can keep a pulse on employee stress. Using a chat tool, like Connecteam, allows you to communicate with your employees at any time and on any matter.
Connecteam’s communication app is trusted by thousands of companies worldwide. With one app, you and your team have access to team chat, one-on-one dialogue, real-time updates, an in-app directory, feedback surveys, a virtual suggestion box, live polls, voice messages, sharing materials (video, GIFs, pictures, files, etc.), and much more. But how does Connecteam help reduce employee stress at work?
- Chat: allows employees to discuss and collaborate with their managers, supervisors, and coworkers on a regular basis. Either start a private one-on-one chat or have a group thread on a particular subject, like working from home or sharing meditation tips.
- Real-time updates: share files, images, GIFS, videos, and more with team members and employees. This helps keep everyone on the same page and don’t just send updates on work matters, if there is a birthday, a positive customer review, or what have you, then share this with the team too so you can boost morale and lower employee stress.
- Suggestion box: employees can approach their managers directly from the app regarding anything that is bothering them with ideas on how to fix the situation or just to privately make it known that there is an issue that management must address. Like a toxic workplace or negative employee.
- Onboarding and training: new employees have access to everything that’s needed to ensure first-day success that then leads to long-term success. New hires will feel a lot less stressed when materials are readily available and they can learn at their own pace.
Connecteam is the collaboration app that moves work forward, creates an open and healthy culture, and keeps your team connected in the tap of a button.
Communicate and collaborate with Connecteam
With Connecteam’s communication tool, you have multiple ways to communicate, collaborate, and engage with your employees. From group chat or private chat to feedback surveys to live polls to sharing files to a suggestion box and so much more. Take communication to the next level with Connecteam’s communication tool.
6. Set clear goals
Managers must set clear goals for their team members in order to reduce employee stress at work. Clear goals allow your employees to work more focused instead of worrying or overthinking about the task at hand.
In addition, it saves time because then your employees don’t need to redo the work all over again. Give your team peace of mind by making it crystal clear what should be focused on and why.
7. Consider flexible work policies
“We like to give people the freedom to work where they want, safe in the knowledge that they have the drive and expertise to perform excellently, whether they [are] at their desk or in their kitchen. Yours truly has never worked out of an office, and never will.” – Richard Branson, Founder and Chairman of Virgin
8. Offer autonomy
Whenever possible, offer your team members control over how they manage their tasks and projects. Employees are actually 43% less likely to experience high levels of burnout and employee stress when the choice rests on them to decide what tasks to do, when to do them, and how much time to spend on them.
9. Dish out recognition
What’s another tip on how to make your job less stressful? RECOGNITION! When you publicly recognize your employee’s hard work, you help to lower employee stress and increase the feeling of connection and belonging in the company.
How is this possible? Recognition makes it a lot easier for your team to effectively work with high stake demands because their efforts are valued. Give your employee or employees a shoutout during a team meeting, in an email, or via your company chat app.
Deloitte also shows that a company culture where peers recognize and show gratitude toward one another, they are more likely to have employees who are happy and satisfied in their job roles.
The bottom line on how to make your job less stressful
Managers should acknowledge their concerns on employee stress and must lay out their plan on how they will help each team member come out on the other side with as little stress as possible.
The nine simple and detailed steps we listed above can help you reduce employee stress at work. Plus, you are creating loyal employees who really enjoy coming to work every day.
Connecteam: one app to manage your employees & business
Connecteam is your tool to manage employee engagement, development, culture, and relationship. You can streamline communication, give your employees a platform to be heard, lower employee stress, boost engagement, strengthen the company culture, align employees with company policies, streamline daily operations, build professional skills and so much moreStart for free