Research conducted by American Psychological Association finds that nearly 80% of the employees feel stressed at their job. Within this group, half admitted that they need some kind of assistance in managing stress. They also suggested that their coworkers and teammates might need such help too. Here, we will focus on answering the question, how managers can reduce stress in the workplace.
Given the current pandemic and economic turbulence, stress levels might even increase for the employees. Stress impacts employees by reducing will and interest in work, decreasing productivity and efficiency.
Furthermore, continuous stress can lead to a low commitment to the organization, which further results in absenteeism and high employee turnover.
How Managers Can Reduce Stress In The Workplace?
Managers are in a key position to effectively manage this stress. Their position is crucial because they are responsible for managing organizational factors such as setting roles, assigning tasks, and setting customs to work within the team.
Obviously, there can be other factors that can cause stress but it becomes the manager’s role to do whatever they can to support the employee. There are many strategies for managing stress in the workplace.
Before working on reducing this stress, managers should be aware about the kind of stress affecting their employees and organization.
Hence, they should regularly assess employees by asking themselves questions such as:
- What are the current demands at work?
- Is the work design appropriate?
- Is there any employee under me who nowadays acts a little irritable, angry or frustrated?
- Who among my employees is showing lack of concentration or interest?
Managers can also directly ask employees about their stress only after a good rapport.
Some questions for this purpose could be:
- Are you feeling some kind of stress lately?
- How can I help you with your stressful situation?
- Do you need a break to destress?
To reduce stress at the workplace, managers can do the following:
- Prevent job stress:
The most effective thing that a manager can do is prevent the stress before it starts doing harm. There can be three ways to do this:
- Primary prevention: These are aimed to prevent stress from occurring in the workplace.
A few primary prevention include, clearly defining roles and responsibilities, taking regular breaks, taking stress prevention seminars, and matching employee capabilities with available resources.
- Secondary prevention: These are aimed to modify an individual’s response to stressful situations. These include team building, diversity programs, meditation, and exercise to learn how to face any future or current stress.
- Tertiary prevention: These are aimed to minimize the effect of stress-related issues in the organization. These include employee assistance programs and counseling/therapy for employees that are struggling to cope with ongoing stressors.
- Managing expectations:
In research from Accountemps staffing service, employees admitted that unrealistic manager expectations is their top stressor, along with heavy workloads and looming deadlines.
Therefore, try to ask yourself the following questions before to check your expectations:
- Does this employee have enough time and resources for this expectation?
- Is this expectation clear enough?
- Is it fair to have this much expectation from this employee?
- What is the likelihood of success with your expectation?
- What could be the most realistic expectation from this employee or team?
- Implementing strict policies:
Negative and harmful behavior such as bullying or harassment can lead to chronic stress. This further deteriorates the culture of organization and spreads negativity.
Therefore, managers need to implement strict policies if there aren’t many in effect. Taking quick and fair measures against such cases also promotes the manager’s credibility in the organization.
Research also suggests that democratic managerial style also helps to create a healthy and stress-free working environment.
In that environment, employees feel supported, valued and rewarded.
Therefore, to become a manager that supports employees and helps to reduce their stress try to do the following:
- Assess your own managerial style: This you can do with the help of online questionnaires or joy up genie application.
- Become a more democratic style manager: To become a democratic manager, try to inculcate the following skills in yourself:
- Include employees in work related discussions.
- Get feedback from all employees.
- Give some kind of work autonomy to employees.
- Build genuine interest in the lives of your employees.
Organizational stress is one of the biggest concerns for managers today, and they can help employees to reduce this stress by working on their own managerial style, implementing policies against negative behaviors, preventing stress in the workplace, managing their expectations, and helping employees reduce stress in the workplace.