With the world more online than ever before, there is a pervasive attitude that we must be constantly available to our jobs, and many workers risk their work life balance shifting too far in favour of work. This can be the cause of considerable stress which, in addition to being harmful on its own, brings a variety of mental and physical symptoms. Reducing stress in your employees is essential for a happy and productive workplace. You can keep your team happy and healthy, while also improving attendance and staff retention.
What causes workplace stress?
Work is consistently cited as one of the leading causes of stress in our day to day lives. There are several key factors in our workplaces that can make us stressed.
- Unreasonable goals or demands
- Inadequate compensation
- Lack of suitable support or resources
- Hostile working environment
One or a combination of these factors will make work unpleasant and quickly cause a build-up of stress. This can manifest as several different symptoms including:
- Heart palpitations
- Difficulty breathing
- Aches and pains
- Panic attacks
- Sore eyes
- Sleep problems
Suffering these symptoms will have an adverse effect on not only your employees’ health, but also their productivity. If the issues are not addressed, you could quickly find your business in trouble.
Creating an environment of honest and, where necessary, confidential communication is essential to ensuring that stress does not build to unhealthy levels. Allowing staff to talk openly with one another about issues in the workplace and bring problems to management will help you gauge the mood and provide solutions quicker. You could also consider creating an anonymous ‘suggestion box’ – either in the form of a physical box or an anonymous online form – that your team can use to make suggestions that they might not feel comfortable making in public. Remember to also celebrate wins and share praise with staff to ensure that everyone feels recognised for the hard work they are putting in.
Take a break
Taking breaks from work, both long and short, are key in reducing or even preventing stress. In the short term, make sure your team are stepping away from screens and desks periodically. This will reduce eye strain and the risk of back and hip problems from sitting down for long periods. It is also key to ensure that your staff feel comfortable taking their annual leave, are able to do so, and that their duties are covered while they are away. Not feeling that there is ever a right time to book a holiday, or being expected to work while they are away will mean that your team never truly has the chance to decompress from work. Being able to take time away from work to relax and recharge means your team can return to work refreshed.
Encourage healthy activities
While you obviously want to maintain productivity, small asides or other brief non-work activities with your team are a great way to build camaraderie and keep workload from becoming too overwhelming. This could include taking a walk at lunchtime, having everyone bring in cake for a coffee morning or bake sale, raising money for charity, or even bringing in a game for everyone to play. These activities can act like a circuit breaker to keep your team calm and focused. Having something else to focus on and the opportunity to spend time with colleagues will allow your team to de-stress and return to work fresh.
Business owners have a legal obligation to keep their employees from becoming overly stressed at work. One way you can manage stress is conducting a stress risk assessment to identify the potential causes of stress at your workplace.
Keeping your business’ finances in order is another great way to create stability in the workplace and reduce stress. At Omer & Company our professional accountants can assist with year-end accounts, VAT returns, bookkeeping, and so much more. Bring yourself peace of mind today by calling 020 8850 0700 or sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.