How Business Owners Can Reduce Employee Stress & Promote Productivity
Posted on March 16 2017
Written by Julie Morris
The stress of owning a business is well-documented. It takes a special kind of person to deal with the responsibilities of running a company.
One of those responsibilities that should be high on the list is helping to manage employee stress. A good business owner knows that the professionals working for them are oftentimes dealing with high levels of stress, and that stress can translate to poor morale and lower productivity. In order to set themselves up for success, business owners must be able to take steps to help their busy employees deal with the unavoidable stressors that they face on a daily basis.
The first step is to actively encourage a healthy work environment.
When it comes to managing stress, there’s really no substitute for the combination of exercise and relaxation. And as a business owner, you need to be able to promote both. In the end, it will be a boost to not only employee morale, but your bottom line as well.
It’s important to create a culture of movement and other healthy choices. Lead by example. Schedule walking meetings where you and your employees can get outside and move around while also being productive. Encourage employees to take breaks - real breaks where they can choose to exercise, meditate, or even nap. If you have the capital, investing in special areas and equipment to facilitate this isn’t a bad idea.
If you can’t afford a new elliptical machine and a nap room at your business, some small cosmetic flourishes can go a long way to improving the morale of your team.
“Not every company can build its own workers village, complete with health food restaurants and indoor bike lanes, however there is always room for improvement, particularly when it could boost productivity and overall job satisfaction. Think about budgeting for some brighter, more modern office furniture, consider changing the color of the walls (out with the sludge green and in with something fresher, cleaner and brighter), introduce some plants in the office, invest in some new pictures – even small changes like new office cutlery and kitchenware will make the working environment conducive to, well, work,” says Business Review USA.
Just 20 to 30 minutes of exercise and relaxation can boost productivity and help your team achieve its goals.
Having a mentally and physically healthy workforce is good, but there are other ways you can improve their lives. One way is by simply asking them what would make their jobs easier. They might request a new copy machine. Or they might suggest you build a website that is more user-friendly, so that they don’t have to field as many calls from frustrated customers. Or maybe they’d like more autonomy when it comes to making decisions for clients. It could be something simple or something that involves more in-depth work as a company, but you won’t know until you ask.
You don’t have to implement every suggestion your employees make. Simply hearing them out, telling them what you think you can do for them, and then taking action based on those promises will suffice.
All of that said, it’s a good time to note that your employees need to know (and deserve to know) what’s going on with the business. Uncertainty sows seeds of doubt, distrust, unhappiness, and eventually productivity-killing levels of stress.
“It's important to be transparent about the goals of the business and how job roles support these goals. This gives employees peace of mind because they know what they need to focus on and why,” says Entrepreneur magazine.
It’s important to be as honest with your employees a possible, so they can have some degree of certainty about their jobs and futures. Involve your employees in as many major business decisions as you can, as feeling like they’re a part of something bigger can boost their mental well-being.
And in the end, it’s always good to be flexible. Employee absenteeism and being late to work can be symptoms of a stressful work environment. Don’t be too lax, of course, but allowing employees more freedom to work from home and offering more flexible schedules can truly combat a lot of the workplace stress that they’re feeling. It may sound like common sense, but a tired, unhealthy, overworked, clueless employee is not going to be a net positive for your business. The health of your business ultimately depends on the health of your workforce.
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