Not every type of stress is harmful. One way of looking at it is to consider it a sort of a warning, a specific state of mind telling you that you’re in danger.
In other words, if you find yourself in an extreme situation that your body sees as dangerous, becoming stressed out is a way of protection.
If you truly are in danger, stress makes you focus better on the thing that is causing it.
However, if there is no actual danger, feeling stressed out over a longer period of time can become a problem and even lead to work-related injuries.
In those cases, it might be a good idea to have well-stocked first aid kits, but still, you need to take care of the stress-related problem as soon as possible.
It could be said that what stress does to you to drain your resources until you deal with the cause of the stress. Think of it this way – if you were driving a car and speeding constantly, eventually you would run out of fuel and the engine, which was straining to keep up, would have a chance to cool down. That is what happens to your body – you keep burning out until the problem is solved.
In work-related environments, most employees are constantly under stress. Whether it is due to a project, a family argument they had at home or the lack of money, chronic stress affects their performance, harms their health and makes them unable to work efficiently.
If you are an experienced leader and manager, you know how this can affect the business. You should also know how to reduce that stress and prevent it from taking over in the future. With that in mind, here are 22 ways of reducing stress in the workplace.
1. Identify The Cause
There are some people that might seem as cool as a cucumber all the time, and then they would suddenly lose it over something seemingly irrelevant, like the kitchen running out of coffee. In other words, everybody reacts to unpleasant situations differently and even minor issues can become stress triggers for some.
With that in mind, you should encourage your employees to learn what their stress triggers are and to find the most efficient way of dealing with them. If you’re a vegetarian, for example, avoid going to the butchers. However, if for one reason or another, you just have to face a stressful situation, try finding a less-stressful way of looking at it. For instance, if your children love meat and you have to go to the butchers, focus on the amazing meal you’ll make for your kids and how much they’ll enjoy it.
2. Introduce Your Employees To Breathing Techniques
When stress becomes overwhelming and you feel like your head is going to explode, try inhaling through your mouth and exhaling through the nose. This technique will help you cool down, give your brain some more oxygen and help you think more clearly.
You can also hire a meditation expert to teach your employees some amazing and helpful breathing techniques that will surely help them deal with stressful situations.
3. Snacks That Contain Omega 3
Omega 3 fatty acid can be very helpful in dealing with stressful situations. It can be found in fish such as mackerel and salmon, and it makes your body more stress-resilient. Try to have this on your lunch menu at all times.
4. Learn How To Properly Manage Interruptions
Constant interruptions can be a serious cause of stress, but unfortunately, they are hard to avoid at work. Since you can’t avoid them or ignore them, you have to find an appropriate way of dealing with them so they can’t affect you too much.
Assess the interruptions and see if they are actually worth your time. If not, disregard them; if yes, give them your time and attention. Just try not to stress over the interruption itself, they are a normal part of work life and even though they can make you feel as if you’re losing control over your time, don’t let that feeling stress you out – take control and you’ll feel much better.
5. Know When To Take A Break
The modern world makes us feel as if we always have to do more. We are constantly pushing our limits, and the truth is that nobody can handle that kind of tempo without burning out or, in some cases, even getting ill. Of course, sometimes you just have to work overtime, but not ten days in a row.
Knowing when to push yourself further and when to take a break and rest for a bit is essential for your health and general well-being. Work smarter, not harder.
6. Turn Your Washroom Into A Sanctuary
When it comes to office breaks, people sometimes use those breaks to have some privacy in a washroom. It gives them an opportunity to just relax for a moment and freshen up. Therefore, it’s important that your washroom is clean and properly equipped with everything the users might need. Turn your workplace washroom into a little piece of heaven, and you’ll have much happier (and healthier) employees.
7. Introduce Some Greenery
Adding some plants to your office can help reduce stress in more ways than one. They provide more oxygen and help reduce the noise, which helps your employees focus and think more clearly. Consider adding a couple of plants in the corners or the busiest parts of your workplace. The plants will not only help you reduce the stress but also make your office look more comfortable and familiar.
8. Think About The Light Fittings
Not enough light and too much light can lead to anxiety, depression, and stress. You should make sure there is enough natural light coming through, but during the less-sunny days, ensure that your employees have enough office light since it is essential for their focus and performance. If you’re not sure how to do that, you can hire a professional to install ergonomic lighting in your office.
9. Get Rid Of The Clutter
Clutter in the office leads to clutter in the mind, so make sure every room in your office is always clean, odour-free and clutter-free. If you manage to do that, your employees will surely feel more comfortable and motivated while working.
10. Add More Greens
Since we were children, we have all constantly been told how greens are good for us. Green smoothies can help your employees be healthier, since greens are rich in omega 3 fatty acids and they affect your hormone levels positively. In short, they help you reduce the stress and deal with it more easily. And since cooking is known to kill the beneficial enzymes in the greens, you can offer your employees the ingredients and they can enjoy their own hand-made smoothies.
11. Set The Example
It’s true that actions speak louder than words, so don’t be just their boss – be their leader and show them how it’s done. Change your own lifestyle and inspire your employees to follow your example. Introduce that kind of healthy trend into your office and people will gladly adopt it into their lives as well.
12. Take Breaks More Often
Research on the issue of office breaks has shown that people are taking lunch breaks less and less often under the excuse of simply not having enough time. Also, more and more people are taking sick leaves and holiday breaks.
This might sound as if they are simply working harder, but this kind of work actually makes them less productive. Burning out has consequences, so in order to improve your employees’ productivity, encourage them to take more breaks to rest and recharge. You can give them more days off, or simply more time during the day. It will definitely pay off in the long run as it will make your employees happier and your company more successful.
13. Make Sure Your Office Is Comfortable
Being forced to sit in an uncomfortable chair, straining your eyes in poor lighting conditions, being too cold or too hot for too long or being on your feet all day can all cause a great amount of stress. So, try to make your office as comfortable as you can. For example, you can get ergonomic chairs, AC system and anti-fatigue mats.
14. Move Around
Everybody knows that exercising can help reduce stress by allowing us to use up all the energy that builds up when our body gets in that “fight or flee” state. Therefore, encourage your employees to move around and exercise more. You could organise hiking trips, offer them discounts on gym memberships, and you can even introduce exercise breaks into the work routine.
For some employees, a more physically active role can be life-changing. Take Domenik, for example, whose job as a Service Delivery Person for Alsco in Auckland changed his life in less than 3 months.
15. Organise Team Building Activities
We all feel more comfortable and relaxed being around familiar people, which is why organising team building activities is a great way to reduce stress. The closer your team is, the more comfortable and productive your employees will be.
16. Learn How To Be A Good Listener
You’re not always supposed to offer solutions to problems; sometimes you are only needed to listen. Not all stress is work-related, sometimes your employees are simply struggling with their private issues and as much as they are trying to hide it, the issues still show by affecting their mood and productivity. Listening to them might help them get their problem off their chest, and they will feel better knowing that you understand them. Compassion can go a long way.
17. Offer Courses In Assertiveness And Meditation
Sometimes, people become stressed out because they cannot find an adequate way to express their needs and opinions. Assertiveness courses might be a great way to boost your shy employee’s confidence and teach them how to speak their mind and feel less stressed out. Of course, there are some issues that cannot be solved by assertiveness courses, and that’s where meditation classes come into play. Thinking about these matters and letting them go will save you from a lot of stress that will do you no good.
18. Introduce Flexible Work Schedules
People who work a lot are always struggling with balancing their work life and private life. You can help them achieve this balance by introducing flexible work schedules. Let them work from home on some days and your company is sure to strive since this sort of flexibility will make your employees more rested and productive.
19. Reward Them For Good Work
It goes without saying that things can always be improved and people can always work more, but talking too much about it will only put more pressure on your already stressed-out employees. Instead of doing that, you can offer them small rewards for their good work and praise them publicly so they know their effort is appreciated. It will boost your employees’ productivity and happiness because you will show them that you value them and the effort they put into their work.
20. Stay Positive
Staying positive helps you deal with stress better. Focusing on the good things means that your body won’t go into the “defence mode” and you won’t get stressed out easily.
21. Address The Self-Imposed Stress
You need to learn how to deal with the stress that you yourself create. By coming up with unrealistic, stressful scenarios that are actually very unlikely to happen, just because you don’t have all the details or are not quite sure what is going on, you are only putting additional, unnecessary pressure on yourself.
No, the fact that your boss is not giving you any feedback yet does not mean they are going to fire you; they are more likely just busy, or perhaps they even forgot. You need to recognise when you’re overreacting and being unrealistic and stop yourself from stressing out further. This is something your employees (and everybody else for that matter) should think about.
22. Make Sure Your Employees Are Safe
In every workplace, there are a million things that can go wrong, from equipment-related injuries to health hazards. Show your employees that you care about their safety by organising first aid training; this will help them learn how to protect themselves or help a colleague if something happens. You should also ensure that there are always first aid kits around and that they are always up to date.
This may sound like a big investment, and if you were to buy all those items, it probably would be. However, with Alsco, you can just call us and we’ll rent you everything you need.
Our first aid kit rental involves an affordable annual fee and we will make sure that it is 100% law compliant. Moreover, we will replenish it whenever necessary and make sure it is always up to date.
Call us now and we’ll work everything out with you so that your needs are met and your budget saved.