Workplace stress is nothing new. In fact, many workers all over the world regularly feel the pinch when it comes to deadlines and getting their jobs done quickly and efficiently. However, when stress becomes a constant worry for employees, it can negatively affect their performance and take a toll on your entire office. While there are effective stress management techniques out there for employees, part of the burden falls on management. Making sure your employees aren’t overly-stressed is part of the job. Whether you are a new manager fresh out of training class or an experienced veteran with a masters degree in management, you’ll achieve more if you incorporate these basic stress reduction strategies into your workflow.
- Provide feedback. One major source of stress for many employees is simply not knowing how they’re coming along or progressing on a certain task. After all, nobody wants to get chewed out by their manager after working hard on a project. This stress can build over time, so it’s especially important to give feedback to employees working on long-term projects that will take several weeks, months or even a year to complete.
The feedback you provide doesn’t have to be greatly detailed all the time, although detailed feedback can be effective when necessary. Instead, quickly evaluating employees’ progress and letting them know which direction they should move in can help quite a bit. It also won’t hurt to let your employees know that you think they’re doing a good job or that you appreciate their hard work. If you have to provide negative feedback on a project, make sure you follow it with suggestions for improvement, and say something positive to keep your employees motivated.
- Cut hours. In many American offices, employees put in long, hard hours to meet deadlines. While there’s nothing wrong with working hard, very long hours on a regular basis can increase stress levels for many employees who feel that they don’t have enough time to spend with their families or doing things they truly enjoy outside of work.
For some offices, the answer may be to cut hours. Even cutting your Friday hours or making sure all employees actually leave at the end of the day on Friday afternoons instead of working overtime can make a huge difference in how employees feel. Chances are you’ll also see increased productivity if you cut a few hours per week because employees will be more rested and energized, and they won’t feel like they’re always under the gun, even when deadlines are approaching.
- Take time to praise success. When an employee makes a big sale, pleases a client or finishes a project, it is incredibly important to take the time to praise the person’s success openly instead of just rushing right to the next obstacle or task. Recognize achievements in meetings. Call group members together for five minutes to let them know how an employee’s hard work has paid off.
More important is making sure you praise regularly and often. Praising the success of one employee will not only boost the person’s confidence and reduce his or her stress levels, it will also show other employees that they are working in a positive environment where success is rewarded instead of failure being punished. That’s going to boost group morale and confidence while reducing general anxiety.
Blake Pappas completed his undergraduate degree in Justice Studies from Arizona State University. Blake has also recently worked in higher education and is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Business.
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