Coping with stress is a normal part of being an employee, but how much stress is too much? Stress can make workers less productive, and high-stress environments have been linked to numerous health issues.
Learn how to reduce stress in the workplace below with four helpful strategies:
1. Encourage Breaks
When rapidly approaching deadlines and other stressors pile on, employees begin to feel emotionally overwhelmed. Heavy stress leads to procrastination, cutting corners and the worst result of all — burning out. This creates a vicious cycle where employees stressed out over deadlines have a more difficult time completing their work.
You can offset the gradually accumulating stress load by encouraging your employees to take more breaks. According to some studies, when employees are allowed to take more breaks, they are more productive at work opens in a new window.
Letting workers have more break time also helps by promoting connection. Your generous actions show you care about your employees’ well-being. Studies show a correlation between feeling connected to others in the workplace opens in a new window and better health. A strong social network means individual mental health is more likely to be good.
Enabling short breaks more regularly helps manage stress levels, recharging workers emotionally and boosting their productivity. Here are some ways you can encourage employees to take more breaks:
- Cater food: Whether you want to order lunch or host a coffee and donut breakfast, bringing food into the office is a fast way to get everyone in a good mood.
- Hold a brief team meeting: Brief 15-to-30 minute sessions with the team can be highly encouraging during stressful times. Get everyone together to talk through obstacles and congratulate one another on progress. Make sure you set a time limit, or the meetup could turn into a therapy session.
2. Set Realistic Expectations
Sometimes, how you manage stress among your team members depends on how you define your company’s deadlines. You can help reduce stress by making your expectations transparent and realistic. Try the following strategies for managing stress related to your expectations:
Define Your Objectives
Clearly defining your objectives can reduce your need to micromanage employees. They will work toward their goals while having autonomy in their daily workflow. Ways to define your objectives include:
- Creating weekly and quarterly goals: This way, your team will have a reasonable idea of what they’re working toward. As you set measurable goals, allow leeway for when employees fall behind.
- Setting up task assignments: Give everyone a clear understanding of how many hours each important task should ideally take.
- Accepting results: Allow your employees to report key results, which gives them a sense of achievement.
- Making progress notes: Take time each quarter to review your previous objectives. Share your results in an encouraging manner as you work on improving productivity for the next quarter.
Give Employees Time to Adapt
The earlier you set your expectations, the easier your employees can adapt to meet them. It’s best to discuss vital expectations during the onboarding process, or even include key specifics in the job description for applicants to read.
Job descriptions often include long lists of required skills and responsibilities, and once an employee starts, they might feel these were misleading. When seeking new hires, ask current employees about the basic responsibilities, and get them to provide information for the listing.
It’s also helpful for new hires to understand expectations can change. The expected pace during the first 30 days differs from what employees should be doing by day 365. Try describing what a week of work is like in the listing to give prospective employees an idea of acceptable standards.
Making your expectations transparent from the beginning reflects well on your company’s values. It also keeps employees from wondering if they would be a good fit for the available role. New workers might question their abilities less frequently if they are able to meet your expectations, resulting in a less stressful onboarding process.
3. Permit Flexible Hours
Allowing your employees to work on their own schedules can improve their ability to complete all assigned tasks. If you have confidence in your employees’ abilities to manage their own time, giving them more autonomy in their workflow allows them to meet and succeed expectations.
As one of the most effective strategies for managing stress in the workplace, flexible hours have many benefits, including:
- A better work-life balance: Your employees can take the time they need to complete their daily responsibilities outside of work.
- Higher quality work: Allowing your employees to spread their hours out lets them put their best effort into their work.
- Higher morale: Remote work and flexible hours lead to employees enjoying their work life more. Being able to get out of the office keeps stress low.
- Discrete crisis management: When an employee experiences a crisis, they can leave without disrupting the office or concerning other employees.
4. Show Appreciation With Lunch Catering
Many Americans eat lunch at their desks or skip lunches to stay caught up on work. In an effort to conserve time and energy, skipping lunch actually leads to increased stress and exhaustion. You can help with this problem by occasionally providing a catered lunch for the office to share.
Catered lunches show your gratitude in a highly enjoyable way. This strategy can be an excellent use of your company’s funding and also emphasizes the importance of stress management in the workplace. Catered meals promote productivity and restore energy in the middle of the day. Concerning how to help employees manage stress, catering meals can:
- Provide healthy food: Busy employees might select the quickest meal options instead of the most healthy ones. They need to get the right nutrients to power their brains, and catering lunch ensures the meal is well-balanced and filling.
- Save time: Your employees can eat lunch without going on a stressful food run. Your resident workaholics feel more comfortable remaining near their desks, and the frequent lunch skippers are encouraged to enjoy a company meal.
- Save money: Some employees skip lunch to cut living expenses, resulting in low blood sugar levels and high daily stress. They may feel relieved when you provide food at work, increasing morale.
Order Apple Spice Corporate Catering
Good food can go a long way to helping you manage stress among your team members. Apple Spice provides a quality box lunch catering service directly to your office. We deliver quickly to meetings or casual lunch events. Try our fresh individually packaged sandwich and lunch combos to meet your employees’ unique preferences.
Our team prepares lunches with premium ingredients, providing our diners with the nutrition they need and the flavors they love. Browse our locations to find a service near you and start selecting your lunch catering options.