In today’s fast-paced and business-driven culture, there have been an increasing number of reports from workers all around the world about increased stress levels, lack of energy and productivity, and diminishing morale. According to a report, 80% of employees report feeling burnt out at work which affected their productivity.
It’s the responsibility of leaders of the organization to ensure their employees are kept productive, engaged, and feeling supported at work. And it doesn’t take drastic measures to make a difference – there are easy leadership steps organizations can take to support stressed-out workers.
From organizing team-building exercises and providing an opportunity for creativity, to developing good feedback systems, we’ve compiled some easy tips on how to help employees relieve stress and feel supported at work.
Why Employees Experience Stress and How to Manage It?
Work stress is defined as the negative effects of stress on an individual’s physical, mental, and emotional well-being. Stress can occur at any stage of the employee’s career, but it is most prevalent in younger employees entering their first job.
Here are some reasons why employees experience stress:
- Excessive workload
- Lack of support from management
- Poor communication with colleagues and clients
- Lack of motivation
- Work-life balance issues
- Performing tasks outside your expertise
- Doing something beyond your authority
The ability to deal with work stress is important for all jobs. If you find your employees experiencing frequent anxiety at work, managers may need to improve employee psychological safety at work.
Creating a psychologically secure environment in the workplace is essential for cultivating a positive and healthy work atmosphere. Employees should feel safe and free of fear, judgment and repercussions when taking reasonable risks, promoting an open dialogue of idea-sharing and better communication between colleagues.
Firmly establishing psychological safety at work gives employees ameliorated trust, collaboration, job satisfaction, and decreased stress levels – ultimately driving the success of the team. Embrace yourself in an atmosphere of mutual support and understanding from your managers and peers to ensure a strong and thriving collective.
How Leaders Can Reduce Employee Stress
When stressed out, employees often take it out on the outcome of their work. They may be less productive and more likely to engage in office events. The result is a workplace that’s pretty unpleasant to be in.
But if you want to see an employee’s stress level drop, there are steps you can take as a leader to support them. Take these easy leadership steps to support stressed-out employees if they struggle with their workload.
Keep Things Transparent
Maintain transparency and open communication. This is the most critical step in creating psychological safety at work for employees. Employees feel more comfortable sharing their thoughts and opinions when the leader is available, engaged, and listening to them.
Show interest in employees’ personal lives. If you don’t know what’s happening in your employees’ lives, ask them about it. It will help build trust between you and your team members so they feel comfortable sharing their problems or concerns with you.
Be honest with your employees about expectations, performance standards, and rewards. When people know what to expect from each other, they are more likely to meet those expectations. This can reduce stress and encourage teamwork by making everyone aware of their responsibilities.
Provide Employee Development
When employees feel that they are drifting aimlessly through their careers at work, they are more likely to feel stressed and worried. Encourage your employees to attend training programs, conferences, and workshops. These activities will help your employees grow and improve their skills, lowering stress levels and making them more productive.
A leader who supports their members in developing their skills will help their members feel more confident and able to deal with stress. This can positively impact how they perform on the job, which will help them be less stressed and more focused at work.
Offer Flexibility in Working Setup
Mandating strict Monday through Friday, 8:00 to 4:30 hours is ineffective. Some people do their best work early in the morning; others do their best after business hours when there is more peace.
Stressed-out employees want to work from home or have flexible schedules. Having a flexible work schedule and location is essential for psychological safety at work. Flexibility is the key to recharging people when they need it the most. It also helps them feel more connected to their work, as they know they can make time for family and friends when they need or want to.
Avoid Harsh Consequences
Allow your employees to make mistakes and learn from them if you want to improve their psychological safety at work. A severe consequence of failure tends to stress employees. They feel they can’t handle the situation and will have to deal with it. Rather than focusing on accomplishing their job well, they focus on what might happen if they fail.
Leaders should not impose severe consequences for failure or underperformance, such as firing or demoting a team member. Instead, leaders should provide support and feedback so people can learn from mistakes and progress. Try approaching problematic behavior from a place of curiosity instead of blame. To find solutions to issues, regardless of whether they relate to performance or anything else, it is best to approach them collaboratively and objectively.
Make Decisions With Your Team
The most effective way to create a safe, productive workplace is for all employees to feel valued as team members. To do this, you need to include your team in decision-making.
Employees involved in decision-making feel more connected to their work and have higher job satisfaction than those who don’t. When you have an idea, talk about it with your team and see if they have any ideas or insights that could help the process better.
When it comes to new projects, this can foster a positive atmosphere within the company. It’s critical that everyone feels like they can contribute to making decisions and not feel singled out.
Promote Two-way Communication
The most important way to show your employees you care is to communicate with them in person. Every once in a while, it’s important to get out of the office and see how everyone is doing. It’s also important to ask how things are going at work and determine what issues are causing stress for the team.
Schedule regular meetings with each employee, especially those who seem stressed or unhappy. This will help you make sure there isn’t any major issue that needs immediate attention.
Maintain a Respectful and Friendly Attitude
If you are a respectful and friendly leader, it will be easier for your team members to feel comfortable with you. They will also be more likely to open up about their fears, worries, and concerns. When they do, you’ll be able to listen and respond appropriately.
Being respectful also means recognizing your team member’s strengths and abilities. Leaders must realize that everyone has unique skills and experiences that make them valuable team members.
Create a Sense of Belonging
Employees feel stressed if they feel like they don’t belong. They feel insecure about their abilities, and this insecurity can be debilitating.
A sense of belonging is one of the most important elements in a healthy work environment. People who feel they belong at their jobs are more likely to be productive and engaged. So, to create psychological safety at work, ensure your employees feel like they have a place at your company.
Leading in times of crisis is no easy feat. It takes an understanding of the unique needs of workers when their stress levels are high, strength and stability to guide them through difficult times, and an acknowledgment that everyone’s struggles deserve to be heard.
To successfully create a work environment conducive to productivity and care for stressed-out workers, it is paramount to remember the importance of communication, empathy, and support.
With these practices in place, leaders can arm themselves with the tools necessary to help make workplaces happier, healthy, and, safe.