Some pressure can be good to get the most out of people, but too much stress at work can have a negative effect on both you and your workforce. In 2015/2016, the Health and Safety Executive said there were 488,000 cases relating to work related depression or anxiety and 11.7 million days were lost due to these conditions.
While it would be hard to remove the pressures of the workplace altogether, there are some coping mechanisms for stress you can implement in your office, to help employees feel more relaxed.
Workload management can be a key factor. Being aware of what others have on in their working day will help with both work and stress levels. You’ll be able to see who has too much work on and which members of staff have the capacity to support others. Not only can it encourage a sense of unity in the team, it could also help reduce the pressure of overworked individuals.
Some small steps you can introduce to help are allowing your staff “transition time”, a break to be able to move between tasks and meetings. This way, they can feel more relaxed and prepared for the task ahead. You can also try encouraging them to take time out a couple of times a day to reconnect with their thoughts and deal with any stress before it gets too much.
While it may seem unusual, Tai Chi can be a great way to combat stress in the office. This low-impact, slow-motion exercise can be done by almost anyone, and can be a useful way to focus the attention of your employees.
Hiring a professional Tai Chi instructor to run sessions during lunchtime or before work could help staff feel more relaxed. But be careful not to make these types of activities compulsory as it could make staff uncomfortable if they feel as though they have to take part. Always ask your employees to check with their doctor if they are able to get involved before taking part in any activities.
If you’re looking at how to deal with stress across the entire business, implementing a range of employee benefits can help. Not only will your staff feel more satisfied with the company as a whole, things such as massages and team events can help staff feel more relaxed.
Flexible working hours, or flexi-time, can allow staff to work to their own productivity pattern. Those who are more energized in the morning can start earlier and those who take some time to get into the groove of the day can start a bit later. Research by Cascade HR found 47% of respondents thought flexi-time could help reduce the strain of office life – with many valuing an early finish on a Friday.
Employees may also feel more relaxed at work if their needs are catered for. Setting up their desk space with the right ergonomic equipment and making sure they have everything they need can help them feel happier and more comfortable.
It can be counter-productive to sit at a desk all day – especially during lunchbreaks. Rather than have staff constantly chipping away at their workload, encourage them to go for walks or spend some time in the kitchen area to relax. Exercise is known to lift moods, so a gentle walk around the block or to the shop can do wonders to a team members mind and their focus at work.
Just as exercise can help get staff away from their desk, encouraging breaks can also help reduce stress at work. You could allow employees time to put down their laptop and go to make a drink, nip to the local shop or just have a quick chat with co-workers in the afternoon. Having a short break can help people rehydrate, rest their eyes and step back from the action.
Combating stress at work is a must for any employer in order to have a happy, productive workforce. Taking small steps and implementing simple actions can go a long way to helping staff feel happier.