According to a recent survey, nearly two-thirds of working professionals indicate that their stress levels at work are higher than they were five years ago. In three decades, employee stress levels have risen by nearly 20%, highlighting that stress in the workplace is increasing, not declining. 

This means that managers need to find ways to reduce their employee’s stress levels, particularly as excessive stress not only interferes with an employee’s day-to-day productivity and performance but also impacts employee’s physical and emotional health

This can then have negative impacts on the company as a whole. So, by providing employees with stress outlets and implementing practices that aim to reduce stress, both employees and managers will reap the benefits.

1. Set clear goals for team members

A major contributor to stress in the workplace is employees not knowing what’s expected of them at work. This can result in them not understanding tasks, or spending too little or too much time on one task. 

So, by giving employees clear goals and set tasks, managers can also give employees peace of mind as they understand their task, how long they should spend on it, and when it needs to be completed by. Setting these goals also allows team members to focus on the task at hand and avoid letting tasks pile up.

2. Offer a flexible work environment 

Something as simple as offering a flexible working environment can work wonders when it comes to reducing stress in employees. Offering a flexible work environment comes in many forms. 

It could be letting employees with children come in early and finish early to pick up their kids from school so they don’t have to stress about how their kids will get home, or letting people who live far from the office work from home once a week so they can catch up on sleep to reduce stress. Flexible work is also great for morale because it shows employees that you trust them.

3. Ensure employees are recognized for their work

Another factor that contributes to stress in the workplace is a lack of acknowledgement. When employees dedicate their time to completing work to a tight deadline and hear nothing from management, it’s only natural to feel concerned. What if the project was completed incorrectly? 

Did management even receive the work? All these unanswered questions lead to stress. By taking a minute to thank employees for their work and give feedback, management can eliminate this stress. This isn’t to say that employees need pats on the back after every task, but when big projects are finalized, a thank you and snippet of feedback goes a long way to making an employee feel appreciated.

4. Encourage team bonding

Companies rely on teamwork to thrive. So, what happens when the team becomes dysfunctional or unable to communicate? Some employees may feel like they can’t talk to specific co-workers while others make openly snide remarks, which isn’t conducive to the production of good work or the effective management of stress levels. 

It’s impossible for everyone in the world to get along, but managers should encourage team bonding exercises. Team bonding can be as simple as going out for Friday drinks or a weekend away filled with team-building exercises. What’s important is that solid and trusting relationships are forged so everyone can communicate freely and stress-free in the workplace.

5. Introduce health and wellness initiatives 

Exercise and healthy living are two of the best things managers can promote to fight workplace stress. Exercise can take the mind off the stress of a job, allowing employees to focus on the task at hand when they go back to their desks. Health and wellness initiatives can also be adopted in many forms. 

Employees could be encouraged to run or walk during their break, or yoga instructors can be hired weekly. Corporate massages could even be a viable option, as having this service provides employees with an opportunity for relaxation as massage can reduce stress and help with mental health.

Stress in the workplace

It’s no secret that stress has negative impacts on a person, and these negative impacts can affect a person’s ability to work. This means that when employees are stressed, it’s unreasonable to expect them to perform at their best in the workplace. 

That’s why it is in the best interest of the management to make sure their employees are suitably relaxed and ready to fire in the workplace, which can be achieved through the introduction of workplace practices and initiatives designed to reduce stress.