How employees manage their stress levels is becoming a pressing concern in workplaces across the world. Regardless of company size, employee well being is a big issue. Linked with this is an increasing concern about maintaining a work-life balance, ensuring mindfulness in the workplace and mental well-being. It means the onus falls to a companies HR department to make sure that stress in the workplace is at a manageable level.
There are many ways HR can do this, which range from the basic to the bizarre. I have gathered below some ideas to get your HR team started.
Consider the Environment
To some a minor issue, but a workplace environment can be a large source of stress for many. It might be that employees desks are too messy or an outdated technology that creates more problems than it solves. It can affect employee attitudes, performance and stress. It can be corrected with allowing employees to have personal items in their working area. Similarly, an organised and uncluttered setting also will help relieve stress as employees can work fluidly with easy access to the tools or material they may need. If technical problems are stressing out employees, taking steps to equip employees with the proper tools needed to do their jobs is another way of creating a reduced stress workplace. After all, an environment in which employees are prepared to handle their job, aids in reducing stress but increases success!
Open Doors & Open Ears
A HR team needs to be available to help employees when needed, this is where an open door and open ear policy can be of immense benefit. Ensuring employees have someone they can openly talk to with a thoughtful and caring ear. Employees, especially in times of stress, look to HR for advice and resolutions. They look for direction when they feel uncertain and overwhelmed with their position or responsibilities. As a starting point, HR should be a beacon of clarity and truth. Open the channels of communication between HR and employees by talking openly and regularly. Make sure employees know that HR is there to hear their concerns and where possible offer solutions. Staving off a lot of stress before it escalates. Companies realise that they can’t achieve their goals if their people are too stressed to work to their best abilities. This solution is an easy to accomplish task.
Employee Wellness Program
In the current environment, work is an area where many employees experience their greatest sense of stress. Whether large or small, basic or intricate, an employee wellness program will help this. They contribute to strides made toward a less stressful working environment. Such programmes should be introduced by a companies HR department, in a bid to demonstrate a companies desire to aid employee stress. These programs can include stress-reducing initiatives such as exercises, meditation, healthy eating, mental well-being. Such programs provide a wealth of benefits to staff and employers alike. A well-designed program can boost productivity, raise morale and lessen stress. They also aid employees in making healthy and wholesome choices that can reduce ill health, increase and abate absenteeism. In general, the costs of executing a wellness program are minimal compared to the benefits for all involved.
Such programs may also include a tandem Employees Assistance Program; specially designed to provide effective stress management outside the world of work. It may include things such as gyms subsidies, canteens and massage days at work. The aim of which is to reduce stress in employees lives that may bleed into the workplace. In all, the most important thing to remember is that there is no one size fits all approach to these programs. These should be designed wholly with the needs of your own employees in mind.
Flexible Work Options
A significant stress inducer for many employees in the workplace is rigorous working hours. Allowing employees to work remotely, or even on a flexi-time basis is shown to be good for the spirit of staff and profitability for the business.
Not only are you extending the hand of trust to your employees by allowing them to control their working schedule, but you are also reducing additional non-work related stress such as child care or medical appointments. Though as an employer you may be dubious of flexible working arrangements, it can be easily handled with complete communication and by outlining clear expectations and guidelines to your employees.
With rising stress levels in the workplace and growing concerns for well-being, these effective ways can see your employees thrive and drive your business forward.