In this latest blog, coach and happiness expert, Jo Howarth gives her top tips on how to help your people manage stress in the workplace.
In today’s corporate landscape, stress is a big deal. It can impact people as individuals, the teams those people work in and the organisation as a whole. In my opinion, it is not something to be ignored or swept under the carpet. You can no longer turn a blind eye and hope it goes away, an increasing number of people are experiencing high levels of stress and an increasing number of people are experiencing extreme stress in the form of burnout. In fact a recent report from Indeed cited that 52% of all workers are feeling burned out.
Stress affects our ability to concentrate, to make decisions, to problem solve and to perform at our best. It can lead to all manner of physical illnesses as well which means absence from work. It can be costly for any company to have people experiencing high levels of stress.
So, how are your people doing with stress, do you know?
As a leader in your organisation it is not only vital that you know the answer to that question but also that you are aware of the things you can be doing to help relieve some of that stress. This article is here to help you do exactly that.
Tip number 1:
Make sure your people are taking regular breaks, not just the odd one here and there, not skimping on their lunch hours (it should be an hour long, it’s called a lunch HOUR for a reason) and not working all the way through. It sounds backwards but the more breaks your people take the more productive they will be. The brain needs time to absorb, digest and process information. The more you give it that time the more effective it will be. So encourage everyone to take regular breaks from their work and model that behaviour yourself too.
Tip number 2:
Watch those workloads. When we give people too many things to do at once then they try to multi-task in order to get it all done. When they multi-task they are not doing anything as effectively or productively as when they are focusing on one thing at a time. Think about it, if you try to have a conversation with someone, answer an email and take a phone call at the same time can you concentrate properly on all of those things? No, nobody can. So look at the way that you are dishing out the workload and make sure it is done so that people can manage it effectively for themselves.
Tip number 3:
Tell them to go home and be at home. Don’t encourage your teams to work outside of office hours, actively discourage them from doing so. If they have a work phone or laptop then tell them to leave those in the office or make sure they are not opening them at home. We all need proper downtime and without it that stress and burnout can creep in really easily.
Tip number 4:
Be a listening ear. As a leader your role is to support your people, not the other way around. Without your people there is no business, so schedule time in your diary to chat to them on a regular basis, to genuinely check in with them, give them a sounding board, a safe space where they can air their views and any grievances. Your role is to support them so that they can support the business.
Tip number 5:
Talk to them. As well as listening to them, talk to them, share your own experiences and struggles with them. A lot of leaders see this as showing weakness but guess what? We’re all human beings, every single one of us. And finding out that someone else struggles with being a human being too sometimes, is incredibly reassuring and powerful. I very much see this as a strength, helping your teams to understand that we all experience pressure, we all experience challenges and if we work together we can all come out the other side of them.
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