Employee Experience

How to reduce stress in the workplace

5 Mins read

The Workplace Health Report by Champion Health conducted a survey among professionals in the UK regarding levels of stress in the workplace. The results revealed a concerning statistic, with a significant “76% of workers indicating either moderate-to-high or high stress levels.”

Within this group, 34% of respondents described their stress levels as moderate, while 26% categorized them as moderate to high. It’s worth noting that the stress being discussed here does not pertain to positive stress, but rather the type that leads to exhaustion, dissatisfaction, and reduced effectiveness in a professional setting.

Such a form of stress in the workplace can have adverse effects on the overall company atmosphere, culture and productivity if left unaddressed. However, by taking steps to alleviate it, both your business and its employees can experience growth and success. There are seven key factors within the workplace that can contribute significantly to the experience of stress.

7 key factors that contribute to increase of stress in the workplace

Control

A sense of powerlessness is a common trigger for job-related stress. This sensation arises when individuals feel they lack the ability to influence or change their circumstances. Stress tends to escalate as the degree of personal control diminishes. Striving for a balance between responsibilities and individual control is essential.

Effort Reward Balance

Attaining job satisfaction and a sense of purpose is crucial in any role. However, excessive effort without corresponding rewards can lead to workplace stress. Rewards encompass various aspects, such as recognition, personal growth, knowledge acquisition, aiding others, principles, and compensation. The misalignment between effort expended and rewards received can cause significant stress.

Demand

Employees of today thrive on challenging tasks that fuel engagement, skill development, and motivation. Nonetheless, it is imperative that demands remain within manageable limits. Workplace stress often results from imbalanced demands, inadequately designed roles, mismatched talents, and overwhelming workloads. Striking a harmony between demands and time allocation is a pivotal goal.

Manager/Supervisor

Job stress can stem from various sources, including inadequate support from managers or supervisors. Stress in the workplace is inherent to some extent, and reasonable demands from superiors can enhance job performance. Yet, when expectations exceed normal pressures and become unmanageable, stress ensues.

Social Support

Colleague and managerial support plays a crucial role in alleviating workplace stress. An environment characterized by consistent communication, mutual assistance, and positive interpersonal relationships contributes to productivity and employee engagement. Addressing inappropriate behavior and nurturing a supportive atmosphere is key.

Organizational Change

The impact of organizational change varies among individuals, with some embracing it and others experiencing heightened apprehension and stress. Organizational change encompasses shifts in personnel, structures, technologies, and procedures. This process can introduce both stress and opportunities, often triggered by uncertainty and altered dynamics.

Job Security

Concerns about job security encompass various facets, primarily stemming from fears of job loss and its associated repercussions. Stress may also result from perceptions of inadequate career advancement or overly rapid promotions that hinder job success. Striking a balance between advancement and job stability is crucial in managing this aspect of workplace stress.

6 ways to reduce stress in the workplace

Transform the work environment

Numerous stress factors are rooted in the workplace environment. Delve into every facet of your office setting and its impact on your team’s well-being. Even seemingly minor details like the coffee quality or the height of cubicle partitions can wield influence over employee engagement.

Breathe new life into your office space by introducing a vibrant color palette, incorporating more greenery, or upgrading the cutlery. If spatial provisions allow, contemplate the addition of recreational elements like a ping pong or foosball table, offering employees a brief respite from their stressors. Any modifications that amplify employee enjoyment will inevitably contribute to reduced stress levels.

Foster Quiet Moments

While complete avoidance of stress may be unattainable, you possess the capacity to mitigate its impact when it arises. Dedicate efforts to ensuring that your workforce possesses designated spaces for respite.

Research highlights that over 80 percent of disengaged and apprehensive employees express a preference for stress-relieving breaks, encompassing options like brief naps, massages, or mandated pauses. Allocating a small room, a cozy lounge area tucked away down the corridor, or even an outdoor bench can offer ideal havens from the turbulence of daily professional demands. The notion of extended, retreat-style respites can similarly fulfill this objective.

Embrace Flexibility in Hours and Remote Work

Your decision to onboard employees was anchored in a belief in their competence to effectively execute tasks within reasonable timelines. It’s imperative to provide an environment that nurtures productivity rather than constrains it. Reshape the office atmosphere from confinement to an enabler of achievement. Convey to your team that their role is defined by the caliber and punctuality of their outputs, unburdened by mere clock-in moments.

Empower your workforce by affording the privilege of remote work and extending latitude in establishing workday commencements and conclusions. This liberation offers a significant boost to team spirits and underscores your confidence in their self-directed proficiency, obviating the need for micromanagement.

If your organization’s resources permit, contemplate the implementation of a “No Meeting Mondays” initiative or a similar concept. This entails reserving specific periods for employees to concentrate on individual tasks, safeguarding them from an inundation of meetings or the weight of a burdensome workload.

Acwknoledge your team members

Acknowledging and celebrating accomplishments is a potent catalyst for elevating employee morale and engagement. The act of recognizing success yields substantial positive outcomes. Since each team member possesses a unique disposition, it’s judicious to exercise sensitivity while contemplating how and when to express recognition. Tailor your approach to suit individual preferences.

For some, public commendation during a meeting or laudatory mention in a company-wide communication resonates strongly. Conversely, those who lean towards a quieter demeanor might find solace in a thoughtful card placed on their desk or a personal expression of gratitude.

Whichever method you adopt to acknowledge achievement, your employees will undoubtedly value your awareness of their accomplishments and your inclination to share their success with others. This gesture enhances their sense of contentment and ease, thereby contributing to a reduction in stress levels.

Offer Onsite or Remote Counseling Services

A growing number of companies have embraced counseling programs to assist employees in effectively managing stress. Notably, nearly half of the workforce indicated a desire for guidance in coping with the demands of their roles, as revealed by a recent study. This approach, whether administered within the workplace environment or remotely, whether in group sessions or personalized consultations, equips employees with valuable tools to navigate forthcoming stressors.

Implementing such a strategy empowers your team to proactively address stress-related challenges, enhancing their readiness to confront and manage stress effectively, irrespective of its source.

Promote Holistic Well-Being in the Workplace

Combating workplace stress necessitates leveraging the potent duo of physical activity and wholesome living. Exercise serves as a formidable tool that redirects employees’ focus away from job-related stressors, channeling their energies toward the present task. Moreover, it triggers the release of endorphins, the brain’s natural mood enhancers, fostering a positive emotional state.

stress in the workplace 2

To foster this well-rounded approach to well-being:

  • Encourage midday walks during lunch breaks, fostering an invigorating escape from the work environment.
  • Extend support by subsidizing gym memberships, affording employees the opportunity to engage in regular physical activity.
  • Elevate office vitality by inviting a yoga instructor to conduct sessions on a monthly basis.
  • Inspire motivation by organizing a team-based steps competition, especially tailored for fitness tracker owners.
  • Cultivate a culture of health-consciousness by offering nourishing snacks within the workplace.

Research by Peapod.com highlights that 66% of employees experienced heightened happiness when their workplace consistently stocked the pantry and refrigerator. Furthermore, 83% considered access to fresh, healthful snacks a substantial benefit. Incorporating simple practices like maintaining a stock of fresh fruits and yogurt resonates profoundly with employees, evoking a sense of care and consideration.

Conclusion

In summary, the Workplace Health Report by Champion Health underscores the alarming prevalence of stress in the workplace, affecting 76% of employees with potential consequences for productivity and well-being. Understanding stress-inducing factors like control, reward balance, and organizational changes empowers mitigation.

To counteract stress, prioritize a supportive environment. Revamp the workspace, offer flexible hours, recognize achievements, and provide counseling. These steps promote well-being, enhance engagement, and cultivate a healthier, and a more productive workplace.

Further Reading

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About author
Fatjona Gërguri is the content writer for Employee Experience Magazine, covering the relevant topics about employee experience, organizational culture and general HR topics.
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