As a manager, your employees might view you as a source of stress. Unfortunate, but probably at least inadvertently true from time to time. However, you know that you do your best to keep anxiety levels as low as possible at the workplace. In fact, nothing creates more stress for you than seeing your team stressed out.
It’s a vicious circle. Their stress adds to your stress, which, in turn, delivers more stress in their direction. Your job is to short circuit this dynamic and lead everyone back to a more serene mental state.
This goal represents a tough assignment. After all, workplace stress is almost universal. One survey found that 94% of workers acknowledged that they felt anxiety in the workplace.
Meanwhile, stress can become a communal ailment. This is more than a psychological phenomenon. It has a physical component as well.
Doctors conducted an experiment on how stress can spread in a group. It showed that more than a quarter of people (26%) exhibited elevated levels of cortisol when they witnessed someone else dealing with anxiety. Cortisol, by the way, is a hormone WebMD calls “nature’s built-in alarm system.”
Can the vicious cycle be avoided? Yes, but you need to take appropriate measures. Here’s what you can do to limit stress for both you and your employees:
Managing Your High-Stress Employees
You set the tone for your office. Like it or not, that means you have a lot to say about stress levels for those around you. You aren’t just managing your employees’ output and performance. Your behavior also contributes to their mental states.
As such, you need to take steps to limit anxiety levels among your highest-stress team members. Here are some steps you can take:
Know the Symptoms of Burnout
Keep an eye on your employees. Watch out for signs that stress has started to weigh on them. By understanding the signs of pending burnout, you can intervene before events spiral into a crisis.
Here are a few common symptoms of burnout to keep in mind:
- Mood swings
- Lower engagement
- Diminishing performance
- Physical symptoms
Recognize Potential Stress Triggers
Stop anxiety before it begins. Understand what contributes to a stressful environment and do what you can to minimize those triggers. This will help you nurture a more positive work atmosphere.
Promote an Ongoing Conversation
Talk to your employees. Encourage them to come to you if they start to feel overwhelmed. This will let you intervene early before the stress begins to mount.
Promoting an ongoing conversation has other benefits. It will also contribute to better communication in general. At the same time, you can build lasting relationships that can also have a positive influence on productivity and retention.
Stress Mental Health as Part of Company Culture
Take a broad view of your battle against workplace stress. Don’t just fight it on behalf of individual employees. Instead, make mental health a key part of your overall corporate culture.
This means promoting a strong work/life balance for your employees. It also manifests in a welcoming, inclusive attitude towards your team members.
Make Everyone Happier and More Productive on the Job
Happiness and productivity are linked. Make your workers enjoy their time on the job and you’ll ultimately get more output from them.
Real-world data back this up. One study indicated that improving happiness led to a 13% rise in productivity.
Let’s put that into perspective. If you have a team of eight people, you can choose between two courses of action to get a 13% bump in output. Either make your current workers happier…or spend money to hire a ninth person.
Based on the stats, you’ll get the same results with both strategies. However, note that it probably costs less to upgrade work conditions enough to boost engagement and satisfaction. With that in mind, here are a few steps you can take to improve happiness at your workplace:
- Focus on Sustainable Long-Term Production
- Become a Partner in Maintaining Work/Life Balance
- Encourage Vacations
- Host Social Events
Contact Recruiting In Motion to learn more.
Good workers naturally contribute to less stressful environment. Their competency and dedication make hitting production targets easy, taking much of the pressure off. Working with a strong recruiter, like Recruiting In Motion, facilitates the process of finding these team members.