Creating a healthy and stress-free working environment for your employees is crucial for the success of your business. Aside from helping boost productivity, it also helps your employees feel valued and helps them to enjoy their work better without feeling too pressured. According to statistics, workplace stress reached a high level of 43% in 2020 worldwide, leading to negative results such as disengaged employees and lower productivity. Although your employees can do the little they can to create a good working environment for themselves, you have a greater responsibility as a business owner to help ensure your work environment is as stress-free as possible. Here are some practical tips to make that happen.
- Make it easy for your employees to open up
Providing channels through which your employees can easily communicate or open up about how they’re feeling or any stressful situations they’re facing will help them feel less overwhelmed and help them to deal better with issues. A great way to encourage such open communication is by making counseling services readily available. Having a chaplain or counselor who can lend a listening ear to your employees when they’re facing challenges will help improve employee wellbeing in your workplace. It would help if you ensured that all information and thoughts expressed during such sessions are kept confidential to help assure your employees that they have a safe space to open up. You can provide such services in-person or virtually, depending on the nature of your business and the option your employees feel most comfortable with. Doing this will give your employees the support they need and help them cope better with any stressful situations they might face at work.
- Set clear and practical expectations
Making your work expectations clear will help your employees know what they’re working towards right from the beginning, so they’ll be more focused and feel less overwhelmed trying to achieve everything at once. It’s best to break down goals into small and measurable bits to make them more achievable for your employees. It would help if you also avoided setting unrealistic or extremely tight deadlines. This way, you’ll reduce the likelihood of your employees working in panic mode. Setting smooth and clear workflows for your employees will help boost productivity without letting your employees feel too stressed. It’s advisable to also avoid sending emails or making work calls outside working hours unless it’s an emergency.
- Revamp your office space
The physical space where your employees work can significantly impact their stress levels, moods, etc. It would help if you created a physical environment that encourages hard work while providing your employees with a space to enjoy the work they do. You can add more plants to the workplace to create a fresh and healthy atmosphere. Plants are also known to help reduce stress levels and improve moods. You can also consider new and bright colors for the walls to bring a more cheerful tone to your employees’ workspaces. If you have extra space, you can create a recreational area where your employees can take a few minutes to de-stress or have some quiet time, but you should set clear rules so your employees don’t spend more time than necessary there. It would help if you occasionally encouraged your employees to keep their workspaces as decluttered as possible and provide them with safe storage options so they’ll feel and be more organized in their work. You can also allow your employees to personalize their workspace to create a more comfortable environment for themselves.
- Prioritize employee wellness
Championing employee wellness in your workplace will go a long way to make the work environment healthier and less stressful for you and your employees. Putting little measures in place will encourage your employees to improve their habits while creating a great working environment to increase productivity. You can start by encouraging your employees to take short breaks to stretch or walk around a bit, so they don’t spend excessive time sitting down or glued to their computer screens. You can also provide healthy snacks for your employees to encourage them to eat healthily. Such healthy snacks have the added benefits of boosting your employees’ moods and helping them avoid sugary and high-calorie snacks that can make them feel more anxious. You can also find creative ways of reminding your employees to stay hydrated throughout the day. Making such changes will help you engage your employees while helping them to feel healthier and less stressed. It will also make them feel valued because you’re making their health a priority.
- Make room for remote working and flexible working hours
The world of work has significantly changed, especially due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, many businesses have adopted options like remote working, which can provide several benefits when done the right way. Offering your employees flexible working hours and the option to work remotely can help you test their ability to work independently and prove that you’re confident in their capabilities even without much supervision. Doing this can help motivate and enable them to work comfortably while reducing stressful situations like spending hours commuting to work. You only need to put measures in place to help them be accountable, such as a weekly meeting to give feedback on their progress. It will help if you encourage your workers to put anything work-related aside after working hours so they can get enough rest and be renewed for work the next day.
5. Build team spirit
A strong team spirit can help make the work environment more welcoming and less stressful for your employees. As your workers most likely spend a lot of time together, it would help if you organized team-building sessions to help your employees bond and get to know one another better. You can also encourage social activities such as occasional staff outings or parties. Common spaces for lunch breaks can also help improve social interaction in the workplace, but these spaces should allow your employees to practice social distancing when the need arises.
Building a team spirit helps reduce feelings of isolation or anxiety among team members and improves communication in the workplace across departments. It will also help you create a work environment your employees look forward to coming to every day.
6. Encourage your employees for a job well done
A little praise or encouragement can go a long way in motivating your employees and letting them know that you appreciate them and their hard work is worthwhile. Although you may prefer self-motivated employees, recognizing employees who make an effort and achieve results can significantly boost their morale and create a less stressful working environment for them. Depending on your employees’ personalities and your business’ resources, you can find different ways to encourage your staff and offer positive feedback. For instance, you can decide to acknowledge them publicly in front of other employees or with a private gesture such as a thank you note.
7. Improve workstation ergonomics
Aside from revamping your entire office space to improve the work environment, it’s also essential to make some ergonomic changes. Doing this will help your employees focus better and improve their posture. It will also help them feel less stressed mentally and physically, enhancing their comfort. Additionally, it will help create a more welcoming environment for employees with any disability and generally minimize the likelihood of workplace injuries. You can start by getting chairs that have adjustable backrests, seats, and armrests. Such features will enable your employees to sit upright, potentially preventing any health issues with their spines or backs. You can also encourage your employees to adjust their monitors, so they don’t have to strain when reading. If most of your employees use laptops, you can provide laptop stands to make them comfortable and provide ideal screen height.
8. Provide opportunities for growth
A major stress factor most employees face at the workplace is a lack of growth opportunities. As a result, many employees feel discontent and are more likely to look for other jobs that will allow them to advance in their careers and grow. Therefore, one essential factor you need to consider to help make your working environment less stressful for your employees is providing opportunities to grow and improve. There are many practical ways you can do this. You can establish mentorship programs in the workplace. You can also show interest in your employees’ career goals and organize occasional training sessions like business workshops and seminars geared towards those goals to equip them with the skills they need. If there are any relevant events your employees can participate in, it would help if you allowed them to do so and encouraged them to share whatever they learned with other team members. Supporting your employees to have a better work-life balance will also help them feel less stressed while excelling in every area of their lives.
Practicing the above-listed tips will help you create a stress-free working environment that boosts productivity and makes your employees feel valued. This effect will, in turn, yield long-term results for your business.