Experts agree that work related stress is detrimental to an individual’s health and in turn, unhealthy workers can negatively affect the productivity of a company. Thus it is in the best interest of employers to implement creative and sustainable solutions to reduce stress at work. Not only will it ensure that workers are healthy and performing to the best of their abilities, but boost staff morale as well. Unfortunately the weak economic climate has meant that more companies have had to lay off staff, creating more pressure with an even larger workload on existing employees. There are a few simple and cost-effective methods that can be implemented by employers to reduce stress and anxiety at work. If well-executed in a genuine manner, these methods could actively engage employees, improve their health in the workplace and reduce stress-related illnesses and absenteeism.
Understanding Stress to Reduce Stress
First of all, it is important to understand that there are two types of work related stress. The first is a physical stress on the body, which is common in office jobs where people are given too many tasks to complete in a short space of time. The second type of stress occurs when an employee feels like their hard work is going unnoticed; they feel unappreciated and isolated from the workplace and peers. This kind of situation often leads to feelings of apathy. Both forms of stress result in the release of two kinds of hormones, namely adrenaline and cortisol. A body with hormones out of balance experiences unnecessary strain on the cardiovascular system, leading to common illnesses such as cold and flu to more serious conditions like heart disease.
How to Reduce Stress and Anxiety at Work
As an employer or manager, it is vitally important to acknowledge that everyone feels pressure and stress at certain times. Do not treat employees like cogs in the machine; if you notice that an individual is stressed take them aside and address the issue. If you recognise the human needs of a worker you are starting a process of instilling a feeling of self-worth and appreciation, which is the first step to reducing stress at work. It is also important that you acknowledge workers for any extra work or for work that they have excelled in. This positive reception will motivate them and make their tasks feel worthwhile. The workplace must provide avenues for upskilling and career advancements. Employers who feel as if they are stuck in a dead end will feel uninspired or even apathetic. Thus a simple and effective way to reduce stress at work is to encourage workers to inquire about career advancement and further training.
It is important that no single person feels alienated from the team. Regular team meetings that discuss any stress related issues should be held, were individuals can discuss techniques to reduce stress in the workplace as a group. This will create feelings of trust and encourage team building. Exercise is one of the most effective ways to reduce stress levels. Organise team building activities that involve light physical exercise, like walking or hiking. However, be careful not to isolate individuals who cannot fully participate in physical activities. Finally, a top tip to reduce stress is to introduce indoor plants to the office. Studies have shown that natural foliage can alleviate stress and anxiety.