How to Lower Stress at Work

stress at workWhat stresses out your employees? Deadlines? A never-ending to-do list? An overflowing inbox?

While the concept of work-life integration is designed to reduce workplace stress, sometimes it can have the opposite effect, as schedules become blurry and we try to cope with being “always on.”

And of course, stress isn’t limited to our schedules. Work itself can be a pressure cooker – a 2017 survey by the American Institute of Stress (yep, there is such a thing!) found that 80% of workers reported feeling stress on the job. And while the Institute is often asked to put together lists of the most and least stressful occupations, they note that everyone has a different take on what makes a job stressful: Some people thrive on deadlines and challenges; others just want to feel successful in their day-to-day environment.

Whether your team is dealing with stress brought on by the work environment or their personal lives or both, managers can take steps to help people cope. I hope the tips below will help you create an environment that generates less stress.

Learn to Recognize Stress in Your Workplace

“[I]f you’re an employer or a manager, you might recognize the variety of clues that excessive stress is present in your work environment: Employee productivity is sliding downward despite long hours logged in. Absenteeism is rising; your employees are taking more sick days than they used to. Tolerance for each others’ shortcomings is thinner and tempers are flaring more easily; humor is hard to muster in meetings.” — Read more at Monster.

Reduce Stress at Work by Giving Your Team as Much Autonomy as Possible

“Though it is not one of the most cited issues, feeling like every tiny movement is controlled and monitored is a quick way for employees to become burned out from stress. As the millennial generation becomes the biggest demographic in today’s workforce, it is important to understand how their minds work. One of the most important factors millennials consider when in search of a job is the workplace environment. They want to have at least some control over what they do, and how they do it.” — Read more at Entrepreneur.

Help Your Employees See Perspective

“When you’re bogged down with stress-inducing projects and deadlines, it can be difficult to see beyond them. Even long-term assignments end eventually, so you just need to keep going and remember that the challenges you’re facing now will seem small and insignificant when you’ve finally overcome them. ‘We can all recollect instances that we thought at the time were real deal-killers, only to have them turn out to be a small anthill,’ [John] Koeberer, [author of
‘Green-Lighting Your Future: How to Manifest the Perfect Life’], said. ‘Adopt the thought that this, too, shall pass.’” — Read more at Business News Daily.

Model Good Behavior to Help Your Employees Reduce Stress at Work

“In 2016, Kronos adopted an open paid-time-off policy. And while some ‘unlimited’ time-off policies have gotten negative attention because employees tend to take less time off, [Joyce] Maroney, [director of the Workforce Institute at Kronos], says that’s not the case at Kronos, because senior leaders take time off and the human resources department provides managers with guidance on how to take time off. That kind of role modeling and prioritization makes a difference, she says. ‘Ultimately, employees look to their managers to set the example. If a manager is sending emails on a regular basis after hours, employees will feel pressured to do so, too. Conversely, if a manager treats a day off truly as a day off by unplugging and trusting their coworkers to step up in their absence, their employee will be much more likely to do so, too,’ she says.” — Read more at Fast Company.

Do you think your employees are overly stressed? I’d love to hear the changes you’ve made to help everyone reduce stress at work.

Lindsey Pollak is the leading voice on millennials in the workplace, trusted by global companies, universities, the world’s top media outlets — and, most importantly, by millennials themselves. A New York Times bestselling author, Lindsey began her career as a dorm RA in college and has been mentoring millennials — and explaining them to other generations — ever since. Her keynote speeches have audiences so engaged that, in the words of one attendee, “I didn’t check my phone once!” Contact Lindsey to discuss a speaking engagement for your organization.

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