Happy employees are productive employees, but you can’t expect your employees to be either if you push them beyond their limits. Employees who work too much, voluntarily or not, often show a decrease in health, happiness, and job satisfaction.
Often the first line of defense against workplace stress, HR professionals can coordinate with management and executives to make the workplace as stress-free as possible. Your organization relies on happy and healthy employees—otherwise, productivity and retention will suffer. That’s why reducing employee stress should always be a main priority.
The following are just a few examples of tactics you can use to ensure your company’s employees are relaxed but focused. Keep them in mind as you work with management to develop a stress-reduction strategy.
Offering various training programs is a good way to show employees that the company is devoted to their growth. That said, you shouldn’t make the mistake of assuming all training programs need to be directly related to job duties.
For instance, you can invite mental health professionals to teach employees effective stress-management techniques, or establish a company-wide wellness program that embraces team training and executive coaching. These steps are key not only to guarding against workplace tension but also making sure employees know the organization takes the issue seriously.
Make Sure Managers Take the Lead
Letting employees know they are free to take breaks throughout the day doesn’t guarantee they actually will. In an effort to look as dedicated as possible, they may choose to skip breaks—a recipe for burnout.
Thus, you should work with managers to make sure they’re being seen taking their breaks. When employees know their supervisors are willing to step away from work a few times during the day, they’ll be more inclined to do so as well.
Invest in Exercise Equipment
Some offices are large enough to accommodate fitness rooms. If yours is, you may want to discuss this with executives and other major decision makers. Setting aside a space dedicated to fitness can be an effective way to reduce employee stress.
However, if your office doesn’t have enough space for an entire fitness room, you can still make a few resistance bands and similar equipment available to workers. You don’t need a full gym to let your employees work out while on the job.
This tip is particularly worth keeping in mind if you have employees who often stay late. Exercising regularly helps people keep stress at bay. If they don’t have time to go to a fitness center because they’re working late at the office, your employees will appreciate being able to exercise to some degree at work.
Employees who have the opportunity to work from home or come and go as they please (as long as they as complete their daily tasks) tend to be more engaged and less prone to stress than employees who are in the office day to day. As more and more companies offer remote work and flexible scheduling policies, this will become an increasingly common topic to discuss with management.
As a bonus, offering a certain degree of flexibility doesn’t just help you reduce stress levels among your current employees, it could make your company look more attractive to prospective employees.
Learn What Employees Need
“The path to Hell is paved with good intentions.”
It’s a popular phrase because it’s often true. In your desire to create a stress-free workplace, you could forget to involve an important group of people in the decision-making process: the employees.
To get their unfiltered feedback, distribute anonymous surveys. Ask them what steps they believe can be made to improve the office environment. You’ll likely get some ideas you haven’t considered. This is an engaging, easy way to learn what is top of mind for your employees—while letting them know the company genuinely cares about their mental and emotional health needs.
Encourage Positive Feedback
Employees are happier on the job when they know their contributions are valued. As an HR professional, it’s your job to remind managers of this fact.
This is yet another tactic that is known to boost engagement and reduce stress levels. Earning praise for their contributions will help employees face future challenges with resilience. If managers offer praise publicly, even better. Other employees will be inspired to go above and beyond.