1. Deal with the most common causes of stress in the workplace
As a start you should begin with dealing with the most common causes of stress in your workplace. As an example many employees struggle with job burnout just because it has been unclear what precisely was expected of them. To prevent this you can just simply just clarify what responsibilities everyone has and what you expect of them.
A lot of people struggle with work-related stress because they feel like they are under a lot of pressure. Mostly because the demands of their job (such as working hours or responsibilities) are bigger than they can conveniently manage. Another major source of stress for employees are workplace conflicts. This is hard to entirely get rid of. But you can prevent conflicts from happening by creating a workplace where everyone feels heard and that their opinion matters.
2. Encourage workplace health
The two best tips on how to reduce workplace stress are to exercise and live healthy. When exercising the employees take their mind off work and focus on the task at hand. Exercise also increases the production of endorphins which is a “feel-good” hormone the brain releases and therefore improves the mood. To encourage your coworkers to a healthy living you can:
- Offer discounted gym memberships
- Do activities together at work or somewhere else like yoga or any other kind of activity
- Encourage them to take a walk during the lunch break
- Hold a steps contest, many people tend to be competitive and will therefore most likely enjoy this challenge, bonus points if you also offer a reward or prize for the person or team that wins.
- Provide healthy snacks in the office
Your employees will feel appreciated when they see that you're looking out for them and their health.
3. Update the workplace environment
The environment is a contributing factor when it comes to the impact of stress. Inspect your office and think about what the space does or doesn't do for the wellness of your coworkers. Simple things like an air condition, the quality of the coffee, plants or other kinds of decor can impact the employees' engagement. A great thing to do is to update the office environment a bit. You could add more plants, change the wall colors or buy new porcelain. If you have the space, insert a pool or ping pong table. This allows the employees to take a break from the work stress and focus on something else. Any kind of things that’ll improve the employees enjoyment will reduce the stress levels.
Another thing you can implement in your workplace environment is great lighting. Lighting is an important matter when it comes to biological functions such as sleep. The regulation of sleep can be a factor that influences a person's mood. When working at a daytime job they tend to spend a lot of time inside and therefore the workers may be exposed to low light levels. This can potentially lead to decreased levels of vigilance and mood disturbances. A study made by cochrane states that if a person is exposed to bright lightning during the afternoon with help from a light box, it may improve their vigilance and mood just as well as the bright, natural morning light.
4. Offer quiet time
Stress is unfortunately inevitable, but you can ease it when it comes. Many workers prefer to have the opportunity to take stress relief breaks. Make sure that your office has a quiet place for the employees to take a break in. For example this place could be a lounge room or even a small room that’s more private. These places can help the employees to ease the stress and relax for a few minutes.
5. Conduct regular one-on-one meetings
When you conduct regular one-on-one meetings, you’ll be able to see if the stress level is getting too high before the pot boils over. When the amount of work is getting too high or to an unbalanced level you as a leader should help your team determine what tasks can be blast off. You can also reposition the task to another coworker with more time or take help from an external company.
6. Paid time off
A great way to decrease stress levels is by taking a day off from work and just relax and have fun. When you as a boss offer paid time off it’ll most likely lead to more people actually taking more time off. This is because they won’t lose anything by doing it in comparison to if they didn’t get paid. Taking some time off lowers the stress levels, improves their mental health and therefore even their mood and also their work performance. This will most likely result in more energized and positive workers that are well rested and ready for new challenges.