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How to Prevent Employee Stress: The Ultimate Guide
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How to Prevent Employee Stress: The Ultimate Guide

By Admin 7 min read

As an employer you should always be working to prevent employee stress. After all, 37% of US employees report being affected by workplace stress. Employee stress decreases productivity and has negative consequences for your employees and you. Fortunately, the signs of employee stress and burnout are easy to spot and there are great ways to deal with the problem. From offering great benefits to focusing on wellbeing to providing career development, you can implement these 14 simple tips for preventing employee stress:

Why is Preventing Employee Stress Important?

How Do You Tell If Your Employees Are Stressed?

14 Ways to Minimize Employee Stress at Work: 

Why Is Preventing Employee Stress Important?

Hopefully, you want to prevent employee stress as part of being a good employer. However, if you need extra motivation, there are plenty of ways that employee stress affects your business: 

  • Loss of productivity: Stressed employees don’t perform as well because they can’t focus on their work. 
  • Poor employee health: Stress is a killer, so be prepared to give out a lot more sick leave if your employees are stressed. 
  • Employee retention: Stressed employees often quit, and, if your workplace has a culture of stress, this will lead to high turnover. 
  • Lawsuits: In extreme cases, stressed and burned out employees might even bring a lawsuit against your company. 
  • Wrecking your employer brand: Your employer brand is dependent on your employees’ experience working at your company. If you develop a bad reputation for not dealing with employee stress, you may find it more difficult to attract top talent

Employee stress is at an all time high right now due to Covid-19 and its effects on work, making it especially important to look at how you can minimize employee stress in your workplace. Firstly, you need to know…

How Do You Tell If Your Employees Are Stressed?

Employee stress manifests differently for every employee, but here are some signs you will often notice (especially when the employee reaches the point of burnout): 

  • Lots of absences: Employees who are stressed will be absent often, either because of stress-related health issues or because they’re avoiding work.
  • Getting sick often: We’ve said it already: stress makes your employees sick. 
  • Low productivity: Stressed employees may be inactive more often or have lower productivity, possibly because of lack of concentration. (You can use HRIS metrics to check activity and productivity). 
  • Low interest in work: Employees may lose interest in their work due to stress.
  • Mistakes: Employees suffering from stress are more likely to make mistakes. 

Now you know how to recognize employee stress, let’s look at how to decrease it: 

14 Ways to Prevent Employee Stress

There are many ways of preventing employee stress, but we’ll look at 14 of the best ways to deal with employee stress: 

Breaks

Taking regular breaks is a great way to prevent stress, so it’s important to encourage employees to take all of their scheduled breaks. Breaks are also important between work days, which is why you should avoid long hours and roster employees so that they have plenty of time to rest. 

Open Communication

Open communication is important for a healthy workplace; it’s also key for  healthy employees. But how do you achieve open communication? Communicate changes well in advance to allow employees time to adjust and make yourself approachable so that employees feel they can ask you questions.

However, perhaps the biggest communication game-changer is HR software which makes it easy to communicate with your employees. For example, Pypa HR provides a platform for employees to message each other and you, for you to post notices, and a moderation section where employees can voice their concerns or complaints. 

Flexibility

Flexibility is one of the things that employees value in the workplace. Conversely, lack of flexibility is a major stressor. This means that if you want happy employees you need to offer flexibility. This may include being able to work from home some or all of the time, the option to go part time, and flexible hours to manage family and personal commitments. Remember that employees find managing their own hours less stressful and that you can still track their hours when they’re working from home using an HRIS like Pypa HR. 

Realistic Expectations and Goals

Stress is often caused by overwork. How can you avoid overworking your employees? Apart from encouraging use of breaks and avoiding long hours, you can set very clear goals and expectations for your employees so that they know how much work they should be doing and what type of work. This should start with the job description: provide employees with a clear, detailed job description so that they know exactly what their responsibilities are. 

Then, there are goals—goals, with milestones, are useful to show employees what they should be doing and by when and for preventing overwork. Goals can be entered into an HRIS, where employees (and you) can check their progress. Employees like to be able to dictate their own work, so, if you have an HRIS, consider using the teams function to allow employees to work as autonomous teams. 

Make sure that employees aren’t having to do work beyond their skill level. (If you have employees doing work that is above their skill level, it might be time for a new hire). 

Benefits

Offering benefits is crucial to reducing employee stress as it helps employees take care of themselves. Benefits should include healthcare, dental, vision and mental health. Paid time off is another essential benefit as vacation time allows employees to rest and recharge which is very important for their health.

Prioritize Wellbeing

There are many ways in which you can prioritize your employees’ wellbeing that do a great job at reducing stress. These include: 

  • Encouraging exercise: Encourage your employees to go for a walk in their break. Some companies even offer gym memberships so that employees can take care of their physical health.
  • Offer free healthy food: Free food is a popular perk, and, if you offer healthy snacks like fresh fruit and vegetables, you are contributing to your employees’ wellbeing. 
  • Allow pets at work: Letting employees bring their pets to work is a great way to relieve stress and support employee wellbeing. (Also, it’s free). 
  • Cultivate a relaxing environment: A formal office is not a stress-free environment. Cultivating a more relaxed office space that includes elements like a separate quiet room and games helps fend off employee stress.
  • Offer counselling: It may seem like a last resort, but counselling is what some employees really need to prevent stress. To employees suffering from mental health issues, not offering counselling can make the rest of this list seem like lip-service to the idea of employee wellbeing.  

Events and Training to Prevent Stress

As well as offering benefits and perks, you as an employer can offer events and training to your employees to help them deal with stress. These events can be directly related to conquering stress, like anti-stress seminars, or activities like yoga and meditation. All of these events can be easily scheduled with HR software like Pypa HR.

Stay on Top of Problems

Stress is best dealt with before it becomes burnout. You can use the list of common symptoms of stress above to help you, as well as any feedback you might get from your employees. Also useful is looking at your HR metrics and reports (which can be easily generated with a HRIS) to identify issues such as overwork and unrealistic expectations before they become problems. 

Short Meetings

Many employees find meetings stressful, either because meetings take time away from their actual work or because the employee doesn’t have the social skills to deal with constant meetings. (Remember Zoom fatigue?—It can occur in real life too).

Having a limited number of short and to the point meetings, such as stand-up meetings, will make sure your employees feel like their time is being valued. 

Organize Social Activities for the Office

Most employees enjoy social office activities like after-work drinks, end of year parties, and birthday celebrations. These events help minimize stress: they foster a sense of camaraderie in the office and help employees make friends (and feel less isolated). However, social events should be optional as employees with social anxiety may just find these events extra stress.

Lead by Example

Your employees, in order to impress the boss, copy what you do, or, at least, look to you for inspiration. This means it’s vital to practice what you preach. If you are a paragon of good office behaviour, if you take breaks and vacations and make obvious efforts to offset your own workplace stress, then your employees will know that it’s okay to take care of themselves.

Offer Competitive Pay

Pay is one of your employees’ biggest concerns. It’s very important that you offer a competitive rate of pay (it’s easy to find out pay rates in your industry), as well as benefits, bonuses and pay-rises. You can have all the well-being office perks in the world, but your employees will still be stressed if they have to worry about money.   

Give Your Employees Clear Career Pathways

Jobs are more precarious than they were in the past, with employees no longer staying at the same company or even in the same industry for their entire working life. This creates a sense of insecurity and stress for employees who want to make sure their career is on the right track. You can reassure your employees by offering clear paths for advancement, career development, and training.

Respect and Recognize Your Employees

Employees need to be respected and recognized as good at their jobs, to feel valued. You can do this several ways—offer rewards for doing well at work (including promotions and bonuses), recognize and reward an employee for their contributions to the company, and lastly address any issues, such as harassment (which is easy with good HR software like Pypa HR) so that all your employees can feel safe at work. 

Preventing employee stress isn’t impossible, but it is the employer’s responsibility. Learn to recognize the signs of employee stress and how to combat it (whether it’s by bringing pets to work or improving workplace communication), to prevent issues with job retentions and lawsuits. Taking care of employee stress will improve your company’s culture and allow your business and your employees to thrive. 

If you are looking for an online HR software to automate your HR processes, Pypa HR has you covered! Pypa can provide employees with tools to enter and manage their own information, hours, and take training programs, leaving your HR department with more time to do the tasks that matter!

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By Admin 7 min read

Originally written 30 Nov, 2021 . Updated on 30 Nov, 2021

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