Regardless of what industry you’re in or what position you have, work is one of the most common causes of stress among Americans. Work-related stress affects practically everyone with a job from time to time, yet chronic stress at work can take a serious toll on your physical and mental health.
This article will describe the major causes and effects of stress at work and provide helpful tips for how to reduce stress at work. It is important to get stress under control in your office to ensure the wellness of all employees and for overall productivity in your business.
What Causes Employees and Managers Stress at Work?
Many different factors cause employees and managers stress at work. Some of the more common causes include:
- Excessive workloads
- Lack of support
- Unclear performance expectations
- Low salaries that lead to financial hardships
- Work that isn’t challenging or rewarding
- Limited opportunities for advancement
- Conflicts that are not promptly resolved
- Discriminatory management practices
- Unreasonable expectations also cause stress at work.
The Health Effects of Stress at Work
A little stress at work is to be expected and can actually help motivate employees to be productive and dedicated. However, prolonged stress can cause employees a wide range of health problems, including headaches, stomach aches, irritability, and concentration problems. If left unaddressed, chronic stress can lead to weakened immune systems, anxiety, and depression.
1. Encourage Healthy Habits
One great answer to how to reduce stress at work is to encourage healthy habits among your employees. When employees are stressed, they are naturally inclined to gravitate towards unhealthy habits, such as smoking or overeating. To reverse this inclination, provide healthy alternatives for employees to manage stress, such as offering fresh fruits in the break room or encouraging employees to actually take a lunch break and go on a walk at lunchtime. Consider starting a friendly competition in your office among employees that wear fitness tracker devices, or partner with a local gym to offer employee discounts on gym memberships.
2. Improve Communication in the Office
Poor communication is a common cause of office-related stress, so try to foster a company culture of openness and accountability in the workplace. Hold a company meeting to express your interest in improving communication and devise a plan to allow employees to give feedback in-person, by email, and/or by online form through internal channels.
3. Devise a Better Organizational System
Many stressful situations can be eliminated with a good organizational system in place, so set a good example of what it means to be organized at work. This could mean using online tools (like Trello) to organize assignments, keeping track of tasks on a whiteboard in a central office location, or holding more frequent meetings to discuss shared goals and individual responsibilities.
4. Provide Employees with Resources for Help
Another useful strategy for reducing stress at work is to provide more resources for employees to cope with stress and to make these resources well-known throughout the company. Stress management resources include providing access to free counseling services, sending out a weekly newsletter with stress-management tips, and creating an open-door policy with management that encourages more openness between managers and staff.
5. Rethink Your Interior Design
The aesthetics of your office can also have a big impact on stress at work, so it may be time to rethink your interior design for the sake of your employees. Brighten up your interior space with colors and natural light to help employees feel more energized and positive in the workplace. You might also consider allowing employees to paint and decorate their own personal work areas to help theses spaces feel inviting and personalized. Simply adding a few potted plants around the office can breathe new life into a dull and drab office environment. If your office feels cramped and unaccommodating, it may be in your employees’ best interests to rent office space that will better suit your needs.
6. Address Conflicts Right Away
Conflicts are inevitable in any company, but how you deal with those conflicts makes a big difference for stress at work. Encourage employees to approach management right away when conflicts arise so that they can be dealt with before they escalate into major issues. Have a well-established conflict resolution plan in place that allows employees to submit work-related complaints in a safe and non-judgmental environment.
7. Allow Employees to Work from Home
Remote working arrangements are more effective in some industries than others, but consider allowing your employees to work from home, at least on an occasional basis. Employees may feel less stress without the burden of a long commute and by having more flexibility in their schedules. To make this type of arrangement possible, NYC Office Suites provides virtual office solutions to handle basic necessities like answering phone calls, mail delivery, and access to meeting rooms when you need them.
8. Adjust Scheduling to Balance Work Loads
Over time, workloads may become distributed unevenly, creating unfair levels of stress for certain employees. Hold a meeting to discuss each employee’s workload, or ask your employees to submit a bullet-pointed summary of tasks performed on a daily and weekly basis. Upon reviewing each employee’s current and prospective workloads, it may be necessary to shift some tasks around so that some employees aren’t overloaded while others aren’t challenged enough to reach their full potential.
9. Provide Rewards and Incentives
Everyone enjoys being recognized for a job well done and getting noticed for excelling in the workplace. Another way to manage stress at work is to provide more rewards and incentives for employees who meet their individual goals and further the goals of the business. These kinds of perks may include a free lunch, gift card, trophy, monetary bonus, or unexpected day off work. However, incentive programs should be used to motivate employees to do their best rather than create a harsh competition that contributes to workplace stress.
10. Offer Outside-of-Work Activities
Management should always remember that employees are people first and that work is just one aspect of each person’s life. Try to get to know your employees on a more personal level and encourage outside-of-work activities that bring employees together in a more friendly and casual environment. This could include an after-work happy hour at a nearby brewery, group lunches at a great restaurant near the office, or a weekend retreat at a local park. These types of opportunities allow employees to vent their stresses to each other and feel like part of a team that has their best interests in mind.
How NYC Office Suites Can Help Reduce Work Stress
At NYC Office Suites, we have helped many businesses reduce their stress levels by providing beautiful and accommodating office spaces, convenient on-demand meeting rooms, and essential virtual office services. The physical office and meeting room spaces we provide take all the hassles out of daily operations because these spaces are fully furnished, equipped, and staffed with top-notch administrative and technical teams. Meanwhile, our virtual office solutions help you add more flexibility to your work environment to alleviate employees’ and managers’ stress at work.
To learn more, please contact us at 800-346-3968 or via online form to tell us more about your office’s challenges and needs.