Every business leader is in charge of their team in two ways. They lead both business operations and are responsible for the reasonable work-life wellbeing of their team. Asking too much, providing too little, failing to train and encourage talent, or failing to notice and prevent burnout are all part of your responsibility profile – and many leaders take this role very seriously.
When you see an employee, or your entire team, showing signs of increased stress, low morale, or risk of burnout – what can you do? As an empathic leader, it’s important to have actionable and prepared tools to both prevent stress in the workplace and help reduce stress for your employees when it occurs.
Let’s look at six of the leading ways that team leaders and business managers can minimise workplace stress:
First, learn to know signs of stress and burnout when you see it. Everyone is different and may show their stress uniquely, but symptoms like fatigue, apathy, anxiety, and aggression are all signs that someone is wearing thin.
Once you spot signs of stress, you can take action to understand its source and provide support or relief for your employee so they can return to their refreshed, engaged, natural self.
One way to help relieve team or individual stress is to rebuild their workload and/or offer a flexible schedule structure. Remote work revealed that companies are advantaged, not disadvantaged, if employees seek their optimal schedules instead of working on strict hours. If one team member needs to take a longer lunch to go for a run and shower before a longer afternoon shift, they should. If an employee needs a few weekday afternoons off for doctor’s appointments (for themselves or a family member), they will focus better with these responsibilities taken care of and workplace stress can decrease.
It’s also important to take care of your too-dedicated employees who may naturally trend toward an unhealthily work-weighted work-life balance. Offer programs, subsidized memberships, team discounts, and incentives for getting out of the house and/or pursuing personal goals outside of work. You might sponsor gym memberships, for example, or offer every employee a stipend for recreation to be used for art supplies, social groups, bicycles, family trips, and other healthy non-work related activities.
One thing that modern managers are learning about the remote workforce is that all-hours messaging is a risk to hybrid remote-life balance. People need to be able to “turn off” their work and fully focus on off-work relaxation or take care of their off-work duties in order to properly handle stress.
There are tools you can use to ensure that non-emergency text messages and emails sent from work only reach employees when they are back on the clock.
Another thing discovered by recent workforce developments is that optional remote work and stigma-free mental health days reduce stress and boost productivity. When an employee can honestly say “I’m not at my best, but I can answer emails and get some work done from home”, this creates a healthier and more productive work environment. When someone can take a mental health day without judgement, your team will better manage their own focus, motivation, and energy and are less likely to risk dangerous stress-caused burnout.
Finally, make sure that your team can reach any wellness benefits they need to stay mentally and physically well. There are workplace fitness programs now for both on-site gyms and remote resources. You can connect your team with telehealth (chat and video meeting) mental health services, and even support your health insurance policy with virtual health resources or an on-site clinic as well.
Minimising workplace stress as an employer is an important duty, one that Oracle Tree can help you to achieve with the right staffing, benefits structure, and management tips. Contact us today to learn more about building your best team.
What could you do if your business simply… worked?