5 tips to reduce employee stress
Not only can too much stress in the workplace result in lower productivity but, more importantly, it can have a serious effect on your employees' health.
A certain amount positive pressure can create a 'buzz' and help drive the job at hand through to completion, but too much stress will cause communication with the employee to break down, altering their ability to plan and do their job well. It can also spread easily around the workplace, having a negative effect on overall staff morale.
Workplace related stress is common, with around one in five people claiming they find their work very or extremely stressful, according to ACAS. Stress management is a way of proactively reducing stress, which can help minimise stress-related costs such as sick days, as well as increasing productivity and keeping your employees well. As an employer, you have duties under health and safety law to control the risks from work-related stress. Here are some tips on how stress can be managed:
1. Identify the specific tasks and responsibilities of each employee
In order to manage their stress, you need to understand the tasks each employee is juggling with; are they working on a particularly challenging project, or having difficulty adapting to a new way of working? Keep a record of who is carrying out what responsibility at any given time – this way you will know when one person is carrying too heavy a workload.
2. Conduct in-house training on time management
Poor time management is one of the key drivers behind workplace stress. With effective coaching, however, it can not only help your employees improve their work-life balance, but also their productivity in the workplace - leading to a happier and more efficient workforce.
3. Encourage an open-door policy
Communication with employees is absolutely key. Always ensure they can come and talk to you about any work stress they are experiencing. Without an open-door policy, staff may be reluctant to approach you to discuss issues, even though many problems can be resolved before they spiral out of control by simply having a discussion. Some firms choose to hold short (10-15 minute) meetings last thing on a Friday to recognise the key achievements of the week and ensure everyone has the option to leave on time.
4. Offer a pleasant working environment
If you're working off a tight budget, it can seem like an unneccessary cost to invest in nice to haves. However, simple measures can be taken that will signficantly improve your working environment; ensure your office:
Is clean and tidy
Offers drink making facilities
Is well lit (with as much natural light as possible)
Has some plants to add some colour
Is not too hot or too cold
'Stress-buster' sessions at work are also becoming increasingly popular amongst employers. This could be anything from a workplace coffee break – where everyone stops working at certain intervals throughout the day to have a short rest – to a more creative approach, such as playing table football in a communal area.
5. Allow staff sufficient time off to handle family and personal problems
Always try to be flexible in allowing employees to take time away from work to deal with family and personal issues. These can be very sensitive times for your staff and it's important to ensure they don't come back to work too soon.
Insuring against claims from employee stress
Even with measures in place to minimise employee stress, some scenarios inevitably result in staff having to take time off work, or stop working altogether. In these instances, your employee may choose to take legal action against your firm for the illness they have suffered. Employer's liability insurance covers against allegations of injury or illness suffered by staff during their employment, such as severe stress. Get a quote now for employer's liability insurance.