Over the course of the 2015/16 work year, a total of 11.7 million days were lost to work-related stress in the UK. Amongst hectic schedules and looming deadlines, it is hard to imagine work not being a stressful environment. This does not however mean that we shouldn’t strive to conquer stress in the workplace. Here are 8 changes your business can make to eliminate stress at work.
It seems obvious that organisation is the first line of defence against work-related stress. Advising employees to pack everything they need for work the night before is a straight-forward step to cut out any desperate dashes of a morning. Similarly, arriving ten minutes early to everything should be a guiding principle.
Track your stressors
Identifying exactly what causes stress is a key step in understanding how better to deal with stressful situations. Once you have an awareness of what causes stress, you can then begin to understand what aspects of it you can and can’t control. Suggesting that employees strive to conquer the parts they can control whilst accepting that others are beyond their control can help to reduce stress in the workplace.
Detaching yourself from your own viewpoint and looking at your work objectively can help to reduce stress. Our own thoughts can hold us hostage. Focusing incessantly on others impressions of you and your work is more often than not a counterproductive practice. Simply restricting your mind to the task at hand will increase productivity. Instilling this ethos in employees is essential for reducing stress.
Banish instant messaging
The prevalence of instant messaging platforms in today’s workplace makes focusing on one piece of work for a prolonged period of time borderline impossible. Wildly directing attention to tasks as they appear in your inbox is an invitation for stress. Dedicating certain times of the day to address instant messages helps to prevent the work day from being thrown into complete disarray.
Resisting the temptation to eat as haphazardly as possible during a hectic work week is easier said than done. But a lack of care in managing diet can result in a failure to equip the body with the essentials it needs to work at maximum capacity throughout the work day. A high sugar diet makes the body reliant on short-term energy boosts. This can have a crippling effect on employees’ ability to maintain concentration for an extended period of time.
It can be easy to forget the basics under the everyday stresses of work. Drinking enough water is one of these oft-neglected basics. Dehydration is responsible for fatigue and decline in cognitive function. The Eatwell Guide recommends drinking at least 8 glasses of water a day, and making sure your employees match this is a simple change you can make to improve productivity and reduce stress.
Considering that, generally speaking, a solid 8 hours of the work day are spent sat in an office, it can be difficult to find the time for exercise. Despite this, it is important to make time. Exercise is responsible for the release of endorphins, which are instrumental in maintaining a positive mood. Encouraging cycling or walking to work schemes is a good place to start. During the workday itself, you should advise your employees to take time to stretch their legs regularly and consider going for a walk during lunch hour.
An often overlooked aspect of everyday health is simply getting enough sleep. Sleeping less than the body requires is scientifically proven to increase irritability and lower mood, which is bound to have a debilitating effect on productivity. Failing to get through the amount of work that was scheduled puts your employees in the unenviable position of being behind schedule, an obvious cause of stress.
We hope that this guide has given you some useful techniques you can use to combat stress at work. Making sure your workplace undergoes a formal stress risk assessment however is the only tried and tested way to fully resolve work-related stress. If you do have any other tips for eliminating stress at work, we would be eager to hear them!