Stressed about Stress?

November 6, 2013

Decrease your employees’ stress and subsequently your own.

Stress in the workplace takes its toll on employers and employees alike. While some stress can enhance a person’s ability to manage demanding situations and motivate project completion, too much can result in physical harm or mismanagement of the stress-induced energy.

The stress response itself is neutral; what is stressful for one person may not be stressful for another. It is an individual’s perception and cognitive appraisal that determines what is stressful to him or her, so it is important to remember that each of your employees will be stressed by different stimuli and will respond with various behaviors. Pay attention to special needs for specific employees and adjust your management style to incite the least amount of stress possible.

With this in mind, here are a few organizational techniques for treating stress in the workplace.

Provide sufficient support for change

When enacting new policies, be sure to extend grace and understanding. Employees will adjust to the stress of change better if they can count on management for guidance and console throughout the process.

Provide a sense of control through participation

Stressful situations tend to be those in which individuals feel they lack any sense of control. Ask employees to provide feedback on how to best implement and facilitate a solution for dealing with the stress. This immediately allows your workers to feel they have a handle on things while simultaneously allowing you to appear supportive and sensitive to their needs.

Clearly define employee roles

Confusion instigates stress. Take the time to clearly dictate your specific expectations for employee responsibilities.

Eliminate work overload and work underload

Expecting too much of an employee in too little a time frame obviously generates stress, but expecting too little of an employee can be equally stressful. Workers may feel undervalued and assume management doesn’t believe they can handle additional or more challenging assignments. No matter the specifics, job dissatisfaction is stressful. Your employees should feel busy, not burdened.

Provide opportunities for social support

Open communication is a key eliminator of stress in the workplace. Encourage your workers to come to you with concerns and make them feel they have a voice in the office that will be heard.  It may be helpful to have a psychologist or therapist on staff to deal with employee stress management.

You can also encourage employees to manage their stress on an individual level by exercising, balancing their diet and participating in relaxation training.

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