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Employee Burnout: What Managers Can Do to Curb Workplace Stress 

by Altaf Shaikh
Employee Burnout: What Managers Can Do to Curb Workplace Stress 

There comes a time when we all need to learn how to cope with stress and learn how to reduce it in the workplace. Survey after survey- and study after study- tell the same story: Modern employees feel stressed out in the workplace, and the stress is rapidly taking a toll on their health, sleep, productivity, relationships, and sense of well-being.

Adding the stress brought on by the COVID-19 – because of job losses, absences, feeling isolated while working remotely, and worries about getting sick.

In an article from The American Institute of Stress, at least 46% of the main causes for stress is an employee’s workload, with social problems at 28%, followed by personal lives and juggling work and job security at 6%. Excessive stress can dramatically interfere with employee’s performance and productivity – not only that, but it can also impact their emotional and physical health, which will eventually distress relationships among colleagues and home life as well.

The same article mentions that 80% of employees feel stress on the job, and almost half of them say they require assistance in learning how to tackle stress. In such situations, managers are those who are aware of these issues, trying to take the initiative to support their team members by finding out how they can curb workplace stress.

Adjust Workloads to Reflect Additional Stressors  

As you may know, many workplace stressors don’t come from work, however, they still affect employees’ work lives. Since the pandemic and Black Lives Matter, workers are wandering around with a great deal of anxiety. Not only that, but they do bring that anxiety to work. What’s more, is that the shift to remote work further convolutes this situation. Limits between home life and work have merged, transferring the anxiety we experience at home to work.

Plenty of workers are still uncertain about their health, jobs, and security; therefore, what they’re experiencing right now is a great loss of safety.

Stress and anxiety are hard to measure in remote employees but often reveal in performance. There will be times when you will notice someone having difficulties concentrating or not completing work – as a manager, finding a way to reallocate or lessen an employee’s workload in the short-term can work wonders in helping them feel encouraged during this crisis and reducing their stress and anxiety.

But if you can reallocate workloads, you can at least help your team prioritize their tasks. Eating an elephant isn’t easy until you start taking small bites. Help them break complex projects into smaller, more controllable pieces to give them a sense of control over what they can achieve.  

Provide Wellness Incentives 

Incentives have quickly become an essential part of a wellness program. Not only that but investing in incentives is trending among managers looking forward to lessening anxiety and stress at the workplace. Today workplace wellness programs – efforts to get employees to eat better, stress less, lose weight and sleep more- are an $8 billion industry in the U.S. Companies can offer their employees wellness coupons or fitness goals to celebrate the completion of a goal or even encourage them for their day to day efforts.

With annual revenue of $1.8 billion, CBD industry growth is driven by its health benefits among employees. Research has shown that the compound aids relaxation and pain relief. Thus, CBD is the perfect incentive for the wellness enthusiasts on your team, numerous hemp properties and features might be the most suited products for corporate gifts. These are covetable incentives that can aid your employees to ease the stresses of daily life. You can click here to find out more about this kind of products. 

Empower Staff Through Open Communication 

It’s vital to recognize that we can’t always offer solutions for the issues around us- and that’s perfectly natural to feel uncomfortable with that. Historically when we are faced with uncomfortable topics, we immediately try to fix things. However, that’s more of a pointer of how we’re uncomfortable with our own discomfort. We have no idea of how long this civil unrest or the pandemic will continue, and that’s fine. The solution is to help employees take and be in control where they can.

For instance, to help employees of color, make sure their voices are being clear and loud heard in the workplace. One of the most important things people are looking for in an organization is communication. So the more employees are telling their stories of what their lives are currently like, the more people can listen and become aware.

Therefore, giving your team a voice will make them feel more empowered and in control. You can even ask what changes they would like to experience in the workplace to feel not only more included, but heard as well.

Train the Brain to Deal with Chaos

Neuroscience research has shown that the application of mindfulness can gradually train the brain and even create beneficial mental habits that promote productivity and resilience at work and in life. Studies have shown that teams and leaders who train their brains develop mindfulness navigate stress more efficiently, collaborate better, and sustain high performance.

 Certainly, you don’t need to be a professional in mindfulness to encourage your team members to promote this innate human capacity. Technology can be very helpful with that too; you can recommend employees to experiment with a  few mindfulness apps to see how it works.

Exercise empathy and compassion

It doesn’t cost an arm and a leg to be kind, and the benefits for managers are great. Compassion and empathy significantly improve employee engagement, performance, and profitability. One seminal research at the University of New South Wales found that “the sole influence on productivity and profitability within an organization is the ability of managers and leaders to devote more time and effort recognizing and developing their people, sharing and welcoming feedback, even criticism and fostering cooperation among team members.

What’s more, the study found that the ability of a manager to be compassionate – which means to understand employee’s hopes, motivators, and difficulties and to develop the right support mechanics to allow them to be as good as they can be” – has the best relationship with productivity and profitability.

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