According to a survey conducted by health fund Medibank, just over five million Australians are suffering from work related stress.
We can't control everything in our employee's lives to help keep them cool, calm and collected, however we can assist in providing a positive and progressive workplace to keep stress levels down and productivity up.
Check out our tried and tested list of tips to help de-stress and energise your team!
All managers have their own style and as a business owner it’s your responsibility to lead and succeed. However, if you generally approach things with your employees in a "tough-love" way, chances are you’re doing more harm than good. Placing tough love yet constructive feedback (read negative!) onto an employee has shown it generally results in higher work-related stress. This can result in a higher turnover rate and poor performance. Try approaching situations with empathy and see how your employees respond to it.
Regulated breaks can actually result in productivity. Giving your employees a break isn’t just a legal requirement but focusing on a different activity (even only for a few minutes) is a quick and easy way for your employees to recharge before starting another task. Get your employees moving on these breaks. Set them a challenge that they can improve on each week. For example, get them to do a simple exercise for 15 seconds like a lunge or plank, and increase it each week.
Anxiety has been shown to reduce through “mindful meditation.” The more you meditate the more you can reduce stress hormones in your brain, literally resulting in increased "peace of mind". Starting with just a few minutes a day will change your team’s mindset very quickly helping them be more focussed and energised for the day or shift ahead.
Be smart and look into your local community or yoga centre for any practitioners currently in training and want additional hours to learn and be involved in a community project. You can ask them to attend your next staff meeting or dedicate a time slot for them to introduce meditation to your team. There are also lots of free virtual meditations available online and via apps. Then work with your team and challenge them on how to incorporate a few minutes of mediation into each workday, either together as a team or individually.
Providing snacks in the workplace is an easy way to show your employees that they’re appreciated. However, snacks that are too unhealthy or contain lots of sugar can actually reduce productivity and result in sugar crashes. Try and provide different snacks to switch up the nutritional value. This can be anything like almonds, jerky, or fruit.
When was the last time your employees REALLY cleaned their workspace, or you cleaned up the office? Organisation can help reduce stress and can increase energy. Once a quarter set aside an afternoon for you and your employees to spring clean your stock room, office, cupboards, and/or stock. Find ways for the entire team to contribute and focus on a different area each time if you have large or lots of spaces needing some TLC.
Finding time to laugh during your workday can destress your team and increase memory recall. Why not spend a few minutes watching a funny video with your team to relax and refocus. Try and be consistent with setting time aside each week for a bit of a laugh and continue to have different ways of doing this - with a video, lame jokes or sharing funny stories. This’ll give your employees the chance to relax and bond over something outside of work.
When was the last time you gave your employee some negative feedback? Now think back to when you gave your employee some positive feedback. Do the negatives stand out over the positives? If so, they’ll stand out for your employee too.
Negative feedback can have a long-lasting effect on your employees compared to a positive one. Researchers have found that a team’s success isn’t determined off skillset but rather their ratio of negative to positive comments. Six positives to every negative may seem like a lot but they’re the ones that stick with your employees the most. Put the six and one rule in place for all your employees, so it is a standard practice within the office. Any time any feedback is given, six positives to the one negative. This will strengthen your work culture and will have positive long-lasting effects.
Towards the end of the day we are all guilty of feeling a bit tired or run down. However, there is a way to fix this! Give your employees different tasks within their workday. Assign them a different role to introduce a new skill into their daily tasks. For example, if one of your employees is always in the kitchen and wants a change in scenery, have them shadow a floor staff member and vice versa. To ensure your workspace remains productive, do this in a quiet spot in the workday. Not only will this switch help employees understand each other’s roles, but will also show how each individual contributes to making the business run smoothly.
One of the most difficult tasks is identifying when an employee is stressed. Each individual has their own way of dealing with stress, so it is vital that you realise your employee is stressed before they burn out or get overwhelmed. Set time aside every so often to have a chat with each employee privately and ask how they are doing. Don’t be shallow, dig deep and let them talk while you actively listen. Ask them what at work could improve to make it a better environment. At the end of the conversation make sure they feel as though you’ve listened, and you understand. If they raise an issue with something, put together a plan for next steps and find out how they want to address it. Encourage them to bring a problem along with a solution... not just a problem. At the end of the day employees don’t leave companies, they leave managers!
Following these tips can lead to a better work environment and help make your employees feel great about coming to work. This means one less stress in their lives that you've helped them with.
Happy de-stressing! You've got this!