Sunday, October 10, 2010

How To Reduce Stress In The Workplace

Most places of employment are a source of some stress for the people that work there. This kind of stress can be a good thing - it encourages professionalism, promotes performance, and helps people achieve goals and get things done. However, the threshold between healthy amounts of stress and too much stress easy to cross, and too much stress is never a good thing. Fortunately, there are many proven steps that employees and managers alike can take to mitigate the day to day stress of working for a company.

Communicate clearly, openly, and often. Much of an employee's stress comes from not being sure about where they stand. If they don't receive feedback about their work they are left to guess about whether the hours they spent on a project were appreciated or not. Employees should also be given the opportunity to safely give their honest feedback about their position and about the company in general. If frustrations are communicated as they come up, they can be addressed before any huge problems arise.

[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="500" caption="Flickr - by clagnut"]meeting[/caption]

Promote autonomy. Most employees hate being micromanaged and feel devalued when they are forced to fit their personal working style into the corporate machine. If employees are instead given tasks that they are allowed to complete in their own way, they will take pride in their work, produce more and be happier. Also, if it's possible for employees to be given flexible schedules, productivity will almost always improve. Everyone's productivity peaks at different points in the day, and forcing everyone to work the same schedule will cause employers to miss out on some employees' best hours. Giving employees the opportunity to fit work around their family requirements and biological clocks will make them less stressed in their personal lives, more appreciative of the company they work for, and more likely to stick around for a long time.

Encourage connection. Allowing employees to talk and build camaraderie relieves stress and boosts morale. Happy workers are more productive, more willing to help each other, and more likely to think of their job as a blessing than a necessary evil. It's also a good idea to encourage employees to connect outside of the workplace at corporate events or team outings, where they can build friendships based on personal interests rather than similar job descriptions.

Support employees. In order for employees to do their jobs, they need to be given the resources to do so. Managers should help them get rid of any red tape that could be preventing them from doing their best.

Appreciate good work. Employees feel fulfilled when they know that their work is appreciated. It's hard to spend the majority of the day in a cubicle, especially if the work produced there is unnoticed and unappreciated. A simple "thanks for the great work" or an email is all that's needed to reassure employees and make them feel appreciated.

Set clear responsibilities. A lot of frustration could be avoided if each employee knew exactly what their job responsibilities were and exactly how they are expected to perform. They can gauge their own work performance if they know what their managers expect from them, and they can manage their time if they know exactly what they are responsible for and what they are not responsible for. It's understandable that many bosses want their employees to step up and help with projects that don't fall under their responsibilities, but it's easy for people to get frustrated or feel stepped on when they don't know who is supposed to be doing what.

Article by Courtney Buell is a writer at Professional Marketing International.

[print_link] For graphic/photo/image credits.


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