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 and workload management tips you can utilise to reduce stress in the office.
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.
There are small steps you can introduce to your working day to help keep stress levels down and create a manageable workload.
Tips for workload management:
- Make a to-do list. Plan out and organise your day in advance so you can visualise your tasks. This way you can keep a focussed and clear mind as you tackle the day ahead.
- Be realistic. You can’t cram 15 hours into a day so don’t overload yourself. Keep yours and your clients expectations reasonable to achieve a manageable workload.
- Consider the miscellaneous. Things can happen at the last minute, so factoring in time for a curve ball or those small, yet time-consuming tasks can help take the pressure off your day.
- Take a break. Don’t be afraid to take a break every now and then. Occasionally the ten minutes away from your screen can make your more productive and focussed, saving you time in the long run.
- Filing and sorting. Staying on top of your filing can save you time on a daily basis. You’ll know where everything is and can access it easily.
- Plan for tomorrow. Before you head home, take five minutes to plan out the next day. When you come in in the morning, you can take your seat knowing exactly what you need to tackle for the rest of the day.
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.