Stress can drastically reduce an individual’s focus and affect overall productivity. When the stress is chronic it can influence critical thinking, various types of relationships and even the individual’s memory. By decreasing chronic stress, an employee can enhance motivation, optimize social bonds, achieve milestones and reduce the risk of many medical conditions.
However, employees cannot overcome stress alone in most cases. As a leader, you must follow some simple steps to ensure your employees are not going to be burnout by stress. Let’s explore the main action steps you can take:
Educate Employees About Handling Stress
The first step you need to take to help your employees to deal with stress is openly discussing the topic with them. This means talking about the symptoms of stress, what causes it and what they can do to avoid it. It is crucial that they know you understand them and are willing to support them through challenging situations.
You must encourage employees to discuss any issues that may be leading them to anxiety. Implementing an open-door policy is key to make employees feel like they can trust you if they need to discuss issues.
If you notice that an employee’s productivity has been decreasing due to high levels of stress, you should approach them and let them know you want to help. However, it is important that you do it in a way that employees don’t feel extra pressure.
It is your duty as a leader to walk alongside your employees to find out what are the main stressor points and work to reduce them. Keep in mind that you can be one of the stressor points, and you must be ready to adapt your management behavior to help that specific employee to perform better. Guiding and adapting are two key skills that every manager must master.
Encourage Time Off
With many technology tools to help us, the pace in the workplace has become faster in the last few years. This means employees have bigger responsibilities and are expected more. This also means that, more than ever, they need quality rest time.
As a manager, you must encourage employees to take their much-deserved time off. Many employees feel like they need to prove themselves, especially new hires. They do this by staying extra hours or committing to work that they don’t have the time to deal with.
It is best for both the company and the employee if you show that these attitudes are discouraged. Employees must go home at a decent time and enjoy their personal lives activities. This will make them come back to work the next day with a better attitude and a more creative mind.
In addition to encouraging work-life balance, you must encourage employees to take vacations at least once a year if you want them to perform to their full potential. Vacations can improve their critical thinking, optimize creativity, increase energy and improve morale. Additionally, studies have suggested that vacations could also reduce the risk of multiple medical conditions.
Invest in Wellness Programs
Another effective way to decrease your employees’ stress, and improve their productivity, is to offer them valuable wellness programs. Many corporations offer benefits such as on-site fitness center, healthy snacks, and access to counselors, for example. These are all ways to show your employees you care about their well-being. These programs not only decrease employee’s stress, but also increase morale and encourage social interactions within coworkers. According to a study, health and wellness programs significantly increase employees’ confidence and make them more efficient at solving work challenges.
Counselors, for example, can drastically improve the quality of employees’ experience. As a manager, you can guide your employees and give valuable advice, however, professional help is sometimes necessary. Counselors have the necessary knowledge to identify stressors and make the ideal recommendations based on each case.
By receiving meaningful benefits, your employees will develop a sense of gratitude for your company. This contributes to a higher retention rate. According to a study, 78% of employees are willing to remain with their current employers because of the value of the incentives and benefits offered.
Create Achievable Goals
Creating unreasonable goals for your employees is a prime stress cause. You may be trying to increase your company’s metrics or even to motivate employees to work harder. However, even if you have the best intentions, you might be leading your employees to burnout. Attempting to accomplish unrealistic goals leads employees to frustration, fatigue, and anxiety.
Experienced managers create challenging but achievable milestones that motivate employees. It is fine to stretch employees to ensure they are performing to their full potential, but you must find the sweet spot. I recommend sitting down with each employee and crafting the goals together.
Achievable goals may enhance teamwork, promote creativity and improve each individual’s mood. Furthermore, setting specific milestones can stimulate healthy competition within coworkers, which can encourage employees to master new tasks and come up with creative innovations. To complement the goal-achievement cycle and maximize employees motivation you can offer rewards after they achieve the milestones.
Offering Constant Feedback
Offering feedback is a way to clearly set your expectations and reduce employees uncertainty. Not knowing what exactly is expected can be a source of anxiety and stress. Frequently communicating your impressions about the employee’s responsibilities is key to enhance confidence, and consequently, better overall results.
Providing feedback means letting the employees know exactly what aspect in the result of a task could be improved, and most importantly, how to improve it next time. If you need to make a critic, it is crucial that you put the focus on the result of the task, not on the employee. If employees feel like your feedback is a personal critic, the result of the feedback will be negative.
To avoid higher frustration at the end of a long project, I suggest creating small milestones and communicating expectations before every small task as well as impressions after it is completed. This will help employees feel confident about what they are doing, and consequently reduce stress.
In addition, it is important to balance positive feedback with constructive feedback. So remember to acknowledge achievements when employees deserve it.
The Bottom Line
Investing in your employees’ wellness may significantly improve their productivity. Stress is a real problem in the modern workplace, and if you want to maximize the return on your talent investment, you must address it.