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January 16, 2018

Does Your Workplace Stress Your Team?

Workplace stress is epidemic, and just about everyone experiences a level of stress every day. According to a survey on workplace stress from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 40 percent of respondents stated that their jobs were very or extremely stressful! The report sites these contributing factors that lead to stress: “Heavy workload, infrequent rest breaks, long work hours and shiftwork; hectic and routine tasks that have little inherent meaning, do not utilize workers’ skills, and provide little sense of control.”

Here are some tools to help you identify and reduce work-related stress in your department.

  • Check ergonomics. Poorly positioned computers, badly designed office chairs, inadequate lighting, and offensive noises and odors are just some environmental factors that create stress. Check with your company’s environmental safety unit for solutions that are easily implemented.
  • Require everyone to take short stretch breaks every 60 to 90 minutes. Sitting for too long is physically debilitating and detrimental to health, and focusing for more than 60 or 90 minutes reduces productivity. A short break is necessary to relive physical and mental stress.
  • Make sure every team member understands your expectations about deliverables, deadlines, and performance measures. Stress can mount when employees are unsure of themselves or their roles in your organization.
  • Provide opportunities for employees to take training and learn new skills. This shows that you appreciate them and are willing to invest in their development. Raising morale and improving motivation are stress-busters.
  • Lighten up! Laughter in the workplace relieves tension and stress. See my blog post Does Positivity at Work Really Make a Difference?

As a manager, you need to evaluate if your work environment is negatively stressing your team and take steps to create a stress-free workplace. See my blog posts Take Action to Manage Stress and Stress Busters for more information.

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