Not all stress is bad. It is a normal response of your body to extreme situations from its surrounding. You can think of it as a ‘red alert’ state of your body. It is quite useful, if you are truly in danger, but it becomes a problem if this state is prolonged.
It works something like this – if, for some reason, your body thinks that it’s in an immediate danger, it takes some pretty severe measures of protection. It draws the blood from the peripheral areas and directs it it to the body core.
Stress makes your focus sharp, intensive, and directed to the issue. Mentally and physically, it taps into and drains all your resources.
Picture driving your car with a gas pedal to the ground at all times – you would burn through your fuel quite quickly and the engine will need repair very soon. Something similar happens to you when you’re under stress. You become depressed, anxious, and even less focused which may lead to work-related injuries.
Keeping well-stocked first aid kits will be of great help in those cases, but this problem needs to be addressed at a much deeper level.
Your employees are under constant stress at work. They worry about the work-related issues. They may have troubles at home. Some may even struggle with money. Either way, they should be like parts of a well-oiled engine, but chronic stress will make them unproductive and ruin their health.
If you know anything about leadership and good managerial practice, you know what this means for the company. You also need to know what prevents and eliminates stress. Here are 22 things you must know if you want to have a stress-free workplace and happy coworkers.
1. Identify the Stress Triggers
Some people are as cool as cucumbers most of the time, but they absolutely lose their nerve when it comes to something seemingly minor, like – there’s no more fresh coffee. In other words, everybody has a different way of dealing with things, so everybody has different stress triggers.
Encourage your employees to identify their stress triggers and to deal with them. If you hate the smell of meat, don’t go to the butcher’s.
On the other hand, if you are forced to do something that stresses you out, try to find a different angle of looking at it. To use the same metaphor, if you have to go to the butcher’s, focus on the fabulous lunch you are about to have.
2. Teach Employees Breathing Technique
When stress overwhelms you, you feel that heat coming over your body and you are ready to snap. In that moment, make sure that you are inhaling through your mouth, as if you are sucking through a straw and exhaling through your nose.
This will cool down your tongue and give your brain some more oxygen. It will also give you a chance to gather your thoughts.
There are some excellent and amazing breathing techniques that can help your employees fight stressful situations. Hire a meditation expert to come to your office and teach these to your coworkers.
3. Omega 3 Packed Office Snacks
Omega 3 fatty acid help your brain deal with stressful situations. It nurtures your body in a way that makes it more stress-resilient. You can find this in fish such as salmon or mackerel. Make sure that you have these among your office lunch options, at all times.
4. Practice Proper Dealing with Interruptions
Nothing stresses workers out more than constant interruptions. But, they are a part of everyday work. So, the trick is to find a way to deal with them instead of letting them influence you.
Quickly asses the interruptions and see if it is worth your while. After that, shut it off or accept it and give it your attention. However, don’t get stuck dwelling on the fact that you’ve been interrupted. It will make you think that you have no control and that is what causes frustration and stress. Take control and you’ll feel better.
5. Know When to Stop
Modern world makes us all alway push for more. It is always ‘Go! Go! Go!’ throughout the day. The real truth is that nobody can keep up with that tempo without burning out. Of course, you need to do a lot of work, but some days, enough is enough.
Knowing when to push yourself more and when to just sit back and relax is all the wisdom you need. Learn to work smarter instead of harder and that will save you a ton of nerves.
6. Turn Washroom into a Sanctuary
This takes us to the topic of office breaks. When people want to get away from it all, they usually head to the washroom for some privacy.
That’s where they can refresh themselves and catch their breath. Washroom is important. And it is important that it is clean, well-stocked and perfectly equipped. Turn your workplace washroom into an oasis of peace.
7. Get Some Office Plants
Properly chosen office plants can offer stress relief in many ways. They provide you with more oxygen which allows you to think more clearly. They offer you privacy and cancel out a lot of noise. Therefore, think about making a green wall between you and the busiest part of the office.
8. Ensure Great Office Lights
Too little and too much light can cause stress, depression, and anxiety at the workplace. Whenever possible, opt for the natural light, but when it is out of your hands, design the office light carefully.
Think about hiring a professional to set up ergonomic lighting for your office space. They will do it properly and lighting is essential for the life and work quality of your employees.
9. Eliminate Clutter
Clutter makes people feel messy, overwhelmed and hopeless. That is such a fertile ground for a stress outbreak. So, prevent it and have a strict no-clutter policy around your office.
The same goes for the office cleanliness. Every single room around your workplace needs to be clean and odour-free. That is the only way people can feel good in that space.
10. Green Smoothies in the Office
Greens are good for you. Even your grandma used to tell you that. Scientists agree. Greens positively affect your hormone levels, acidic balance, and are rich in omega 3 fatty acids. In other words, they prepare your body to deal with stress and reduce it.
Cooking kills of a lot of enzymes that are needed for the greens to work their magic, that is why it is the best to make some green smoothies instead. Offer the ingredients and the equipment in the office and help your employees drink their health.
11. Set the Example as the Employer
Nobody will believe you when you talk the talk unless you walk the walk! Being a true leader means setting an example. Make all the necessary changes in your life and inspire the employees to follow your lead.
Get that healthy trend going around your office and people will join in no time.
12. Encourage Frequent Breaks
There is a scientific research that deals with the problem of office breaks. It shows that less and less people take their lunch break with the excuse that they are too busy to do so. Moreover, more and more people take their holiday or sick leave.
While this may sound like people are getting more hard working, they are also getting overworked and less productive.
Your employees are approaching the burnout which has far worse consequences to the company productivity than a couple of minutes off within a day or days within a year.
Therefore, do your best to encourage people to take breaks as they pay off on the long run. They do good for you, the company and especially for your employers.
13. Make the Office as Comfortable as Possible
Sitting in an uncomfortable chair with poor lighting. Being too hot or too cold for a prolonged period of time. Standing throughout your shift and enduring aches in your feet and joint. All these induce stress.
Therefore, do your best to make the office as comfortable as possible. Deal with the lighting, get ergonomic chairs, install the AC and rent anti-fatigue mats.
14. Encourage Physical Activity
It is a well-known fact that exercise reduces stress. This happens because, when under stress, our body is in the ‘fight or flee’ state and exercise provides the outlet for all that built up energy.
Encourage physical activity among your employees. Offer discounts on gym memberships, organise hiking trips and encourage exercise breaks within working hours.
15. Organise Awesome Team Building Activities
People feel much more relaxed when they are among the people they know. That is why team building is a good way of reducing stress at the workplace. The closer your team is, the better they will feel working together.
16. Become a Good Listener
At times, it is not up to you to provide the solutions. It is enough only to listen. Your employees might be under a lot of stress that is not work-related. They are under a lot of pressure to keep their problems at home.
That is not possible, of course. So, at least listen to what is on their mind and offer your compassion. They will feel a lot better for not having to suppress their worries and feelings.
17. Offer Mediation and Assertiveness Courses
Some amounts of stress originate from the fact that people don’t know how to express their wishes and needs, so they are left unfulfilled. This is where assertiveness courses come a long way.
If your employees learn how to achieve what they want, they will have much less stress build up.
Of course, there are things that cannot be obtained, no matter how assertive a person is. That is when the meditation classes come in handy.
Contemplating on these matters and letting them go means saving yourself from a lot of stress that takes you nowhere.
18. Allow for Flexible Work Schedules
Another big stressor is the inadequate life-work balance. This can be helped by allowing for flexible work schedules. Allow for some days of work from home and similar flexibilities. Your company productivity won’t suffer because of these -if anything, it will increase.
19. Acknowledge Good Work
Of course, things can always be better and your employees can always work more. But commenting about the things that could be done better puts unnecessary pressure on your already stressed out workers.
Instead, make sure that you acknowledge good work among your employees.
Have the employee of the month, offer small rewards for extra effort put in and announce the praises publically. It will help your employees feel appreciated and they will know they work doesn’t go unnoticed.
20. Be Positive
Positive outlook on the world helps you with fighting off stress. If you look at the brighter side of things, it means that you don’t focus on the ‘danger’ that lurks from those corners.
Consequently, your body and mind don’t need to go into the defense mode and you are not under stress.
21. Recognise and Avoid Self-Imposed Stress
The self-imposed stress is just what it sounds. The stress that is not caused by the external factors, but a person puts that pressure onto themselves.
This involves all those catastrophic scenarios that you fabricate in your mind when you don’t know what’s happening or you are missing some pieces of information.
For example, you are waiting for a feedback from your employer and he’s not returning his call. You think He must hate my work and now he’s thinking about how to fire me. While in reality, your employer was simply busy.
It is very important to recognise the instances of the self-imposed stress and eliminate it. Introduce this concept to your employees and ask them to think about it.
22. Show that You Care About Employee Safety
There are a lot of things that can go wrong at the workplace. There may be some injuries, seizures and other types of health hazards. Show your employees that you care about their safety.
Make sure that you always have first aid kits all over your office space. Also make sure that they are alway up to date.
Moreover, organise first aid training so that your employees learn how to protect themselves and everybody around them.
This may sound like a big investment, and if you were to buy all those items, it probably would be. However, with Alsco, you can just call us and we’ll rent you everything you need.
Our first aid kit rental involves a monthly fee and we will make sure that it is 100% law compliant. Moreover, we will replenish it whenever necessary and make sure it is always up to date.
Call us now and we’ll work everything out with you, so that your needs are met and your budget saved.