These days it seems like nearly everyone experiences some level of stress in the workplace, be it down to workload, office politics or finding it hard to switch off thanks to smart phones and other technology.
If you’re a boss managing a team of employees, you have a duty of care to ensure that your direct reports are as stress-free as possible at work, for their own wellbeing and for the benefit of your team’s overall performance. In order to look after your team as best as possible, here are seven ways to manage employee stress and boost productivity.
1) Set goals
Put time aside with your team to set goals, both short term and long term, and ensure that everyone has clear objectives in place. This way they’ll know exactly what’s expected of them and how to get the required results, so there’s no confusion as to everybody’s role within the team.
2) Don’t encourage multitasking
Multitasking is often thought of as something to boast about and encourage, but that’s far from the case. More and more evidence is being found to suggest that multitasking isn’t so good. It overwhelms people and leads to tasks taking longer to complete and not being done as well. Encourage your team members to work on one task at a time, completing it to the best of their ability, before moving on to the next.
3) Hold regular team meetings
Whether they’re weekly, bi-weekly or even quick daily sprints, regular team meetings are crucial for keeping up team moral. It gives everyone the chance to keep track on the team’s performance and voice any questions or concerns they may have.
4) Arrange social events
When people work so hard during the day, they should be rewarded with the chance to let their hair down outside of office hours – or even give your team an afternoon off. Why not book a comedian for an evening’s light entertainment?
5) Be flexible
If there’s one thing that’s going to cause employees more stress than is necessary, it’s having a boss that shows no flexibility towards their needs. If someone has to attend an appointment or needs to arrive ten minutes late every day because of the school run, then don’t berate them for doing so. As long as the job gets done, they’ll appreciate your trust and will put every bit of effort into their work to prove themselves worthy of it.
6) Have an open-door policy
Don’t be that figure of authority that no one dares approach. Instead, have empathy and an open-door policy, whereby any of your team can step into your office and talk honestly and openly about any issues or worries. You can even have a team suggestions box, so people can raise issues anonymously.
7) Encourage regular breaks
We all know that sitting at a desk for hours on end doesn’t do anyone any good, for both our health and our productivity. Encourage your team to take regular breaks, get up and have a stretch every hour and go get a drink to escape their desks for a bit. Arranging lunchtime walks is another great way to clear people’s minds, ready for a productive afternoon.
Implementing as many of the tips above as possible will go a long way towards reducing your team’s stress levels and increase their wellbeing and productivity. All in all, making for a much happier working environment.