Disruptive. Innovative. Revolutionary.
Perhaps you’ve used these popular buzz words to describe your company’s product, vision, environment, or culture. In today’s business world, these virtues are overwhelmingly hailed as positive. Necessary, even. But from an employee perspective, they can be exhausting.
Does anyone really relish the thought of spending every single workday engulfed in disruption, navigating constant change, or fighting a revolution?
If these are the values your company holds dear, it’s not necessarily a bad thing. Maybe you are leading the charge and creating something truly revolutionary. That’s actually pretty awesome. And something for your employees to get excited about. The important thing is not to lose all of your best soldiers in the fight.
Workplace stress is real. And real expensive.
Recent research shows:
- 83% of people reported being stressed out by work (2013 Work Stress Study)
- 63% of employees don’t feel like their employers provide sufficient resources to help them manage stress (APA 2015 Work and Well-being Survey)
- The number of people who reported experiencing “extreme stress” jumped from 18% to 24% just in the last two years. (American Psychological Association)
But before you go gettin’ all freaked out and stuff, here’s the killer news: You can help your team stay mellow with a few basic tactics.
Be aware – Recognizing the issue is half the battle. Check in with yourself and your team often to assess levels of stress within the organization. Look for specific causes such as excessive workload, outdated technology, poor communication, unhappy co-workers, and toxic clients.
Take action - Once you’ve identified the causes, work quickly to find and implement solutions. Letting things go might seem less stressful in the short term, but issues simmering under the surface are a breeding ground for increased tension and potential blow ups.
Practice what you preach – If you tell employees they should strive for work life balance, but they see leadership working 14 hour days and/or rewarding those who do, no one is going to believe you really mean it. Reduce your own stress and you will naturally reduce the stress of your team.
Keep it chill
No one can run full speed all of the time. It just doesn’t work that way. If you want to get the best out of everyone, you need to build some down time into the model. Here are some quick and easy ways to encourage those much needed breaks:
- A nice breakroom – Make it somewhere people actually want to take breaks. Stock it with a variety of beverages, vintage games and toys, art supplies and other fun stuff.
- A break from the breakroom – Provide coffee cards, entertaining errands or incentives to get your employees out of the office. Like, out out.
- A quiet room – Appeal to your introverts and peace-lovers who might want to meditate, take a quick nap, or just sit quietly without noise or screens.
- Flexibility – Make it easy for people to take breaks when, where and how they want to. One person’s “leave early for yoga” is another person’s “talk about Game of Thrones with my work mates.”
Perk it up
If you really want your staff to achieve balance, you can’t just keep talking about it. At some point, you need to pony up. Here are some cool benefits you can offer to keep your team from burning out.
- Fitness perks – Provide a fitness allowance for things like gym memberships, athletic gear, race registrations, or other healthy activities that are good for body and soul.
- Volunteer perks – Let your employees give back on company time. They’ll feel good about supporting causes they care about and you’ll feel good about a better community.
- Paid time off perks – Don’t force your employees to take a sick day to get some much needed rest— or fun. Create a flexible PTO policy that can be used effectively and incrementally.
- Work at home perks – Work is work, no matter where it happens. If your employees have remote capabilities, why not give them the option to work without office distractions from time to time?
- Mindful perks – Mindfulness is the new wellness, and there are some really cool platforms available to help reduce stress, increase focus, enhance leadership, and promote better sleep. Yes, there’s an app for that. And you can share it with your team.
- Food perks – No such thing as a free lunch? There is if you provide it. Not only will you lure your employees away from their desks, you’ll earn your way to their hearts.
- Pet perks – Research shows that animals help reduce stress. If it makes sense, consider implementing pet-friendly policies. If not, find an organization who will bring some friendly animals to your location for a few hours of fluffy stress relief. Awwwww.
Less stress equals happier, healthier employees. And when your team is healthy and happy, your bottom line will be as well.
Photo by Hans