Managing Stress At Work: How Can Great Managers Help Employees?
A survey conducted by the American Institute of Stress states that more than 80% of employees feel stressed at work, and nearly half say they need assistance in managing stress. That’s right, it’s a huge number. With an ongoing global pandemic, uncertainties like big resignations and big attrition-there are enough stress in the world already! Although some amount of work-related stress is said to be productive in nature, this is certainly not the right time for organizations to have their employees experience stress at work! Because a stressful work environment reduces the engagement and productivity of your employees. Over the last two years, employees across the world felt overburdened with work as organizations started layoffs, and implemented remote and hybrid workforce to survive the pandemic crisis. Needless to say, all these have adversely affected the well-being of employees. Especially in the case of remote employees, the work-life balance was often disrupted, taking a toll on their mental health.
As we are already halfway through 2022, it is high time for managers to cater to the specific needs of their employees and provide them with a stress-free work environment. In this article, we will take you through some of the most important ways in which managers can help employees manage stress at work.
What Is Workplace Stress?
Work-related stress is caused by demands and pressures at work that exceed a person's ability or knowledge or capacity to cope. Workplace stress is often the unavoidable amount of stress that may be deemed acceptable. Nevertheless, when that pressure becomes too much, it can create burnout, affecting both the health and performance of an employee.
Top Tips To Reduce Employee Stress At The Workplace
- Make Them Stick To Their Work Hours
Whether your employees work remotely or on-premises, always make sure that they stick to their dedicated work hours. Especially in the case of employees working remotely, the pandemic often made them stretch their work hours. While working from the comfort of one’s home has its benefits, it tends to blur the lines between work and leisure.
As a manager, encourage your employees not to entertain any work-related calls or emails beyond their work hours. Make sure your team members are able to enjoy a healthy work-life balance instead of finding themselves working on the weekends!
- Avoid Friction Between On-site And Remote Employees
As more and more hybrid workplaces are coming into existence, the friction between on-site and remote employees is increasing. When you have both kinds of employees working in a single team, it is natural to have some friction during the initial days. In such cases, managers need to step up and resolve such issues to prevent matters from getting worse.
While remote employees feel that they are burdened with more work and excluded from the core team, the on-site employees feel that they do not have enough work flexibility. To resolve this friction, make sure that you understand the issues faced by both parties. Clearly define “flexibility” within your organization and ensure that all your employees are provided with equal freedom. Moreover, you can always organize gatherings for all your employees outside of work to have bonding sessions between the team members.
- Be Clear In Explaining Priorities
Especially in the case of new hires, employees are often confused regarding work priorities. This makes them take up an unnecessary workload and burden themselves with the same.
As managers, it is always advisable to be clear while explaining work priorities to your employees. Let them know about the tasks that need to be completed on an urgent basis and the ones that can wait. This would help your employees organize their schedules and allocate the right amount of time for every task to be completed.
- Set Reasonable Goals
While it is beneficial to push your employees to give their best by setting tougher goals, there should be a limit to the same. At this point in time, employees around the world have already been through a lot and they should never be pressured with the need to achieve more than what they are capable of.
Make sure that you are reasonable in setting goals for your employees. Consider the capabilities and potential of every employee before assigning tasks to them. This can be a challenging task as a manager but always make sure that the employees are able to push themselves to achieve more without breaking.
- Have A Counsellor On Board
In order to provide your employees with a stress-free work environment, it is always advisable to prioritize their mental health. It is advisable to have a counselor on board to provide the necessary professional and personal guidance to your employees. The COVID crisis has taken a toll on the mental health of millions and it is always a good idea to provide your employees with a suitable medium for an outlet.
Along with having a counselor, make sure that your employees feel free to talk about anything to anyone. A free flow of communication always helps in building a cordial work environment.
- Be Approachable
This is probably the simplest way of helping your employees manage stress. Always be approachable as a manager and make sure that your team members do not hesitate to reach out to you and share the issues they face. Keep an open mind, understand the issues faced by your employees, and provide them with the best possible solutions. This would not only help your employees manage stress at work but would also help you build a healthy relationship with them.
- Focus On Employee Recognition
When your employees work hard and give their best for your organization, it is always advisable to appreciate the same as a manager. Employee recognition allows you to acknowledge the contribution of your employees towards helping you achieve your goals. Appreciating your employees’ efforts officially would always make them feel valued as an important part of the company they work for.
However, it is important not to confuse employee recognition and rewards. Employee recognition need not be limited to providing them with rewards. Even if you make a social media post thanking an employee for their contribution, the gesture holds enough power to make the employee’s day!
- Use Digitization To Reduce Manual Effort
In the age of digitization, no employee would be willing to undertake repetitive processes manually if they can be easily automated. As a manager, take the initiative to implement modern tools within your organization that reduce the time and effort put in by your employees. This would help them utilize their time and energy to perform more productive and fulfilling tasks.
These were some of the most important ways in which managers can help employees deal with stress at work. Looking at everything going on in the world, the last thing you’d want as a manager is to have a team of stressed and frustrated employees. Make sure you prioritize the needs and preferences of your employees to provide them with a stress-free environment and help them optimize their potential.