The MHA Mind the Workplace study found 33% of respondents had missed work due to some form of workplace stress. That’s a sizable and troubling figure.
If you work in a fast scaling business – your team will go through periods of stress at some point. Stress is a part of life, and looming deadlines, missed sales objectives or unusually busy periods can quickly turn pressure into stress for your team.
You need to proactively plan for high pressure periods to help your team cope. Proper preparation will help you avoid a productivity drain and encourage your team to bounce back fast from stress during high pressure periods.
Short-term stress is normal. You can overcome these periods of high pressure by finding dedicated periods to relax and unwind away from the office. But if stress becomes long-term, it can be detrimental to your team’s mental and physical wellbeing.
Chronic stress has a number of emotional and physical symptoms. Some of the warning signs to search for include headaches, insomnia, mood swings, difficulty concentrating and low energy. If your team is struggling under pressure at work and feeling stressed, their health and performance can suffer. These practical actions will help your team de-stress and get back on top form.
Identify stress triggers
Working out what’s causing people to feel stressed at work is the first step to overcoming the problem. Common work stress triggers include:
- Poor working conditions
- Unmanageable workload
- Lack of support
- Ill defined role and responsibilities
- Conflict between team members
Once you know what’s causing your team to feel stressed, you can make proactive changes to help bring stress at work back under control.
Improve the office environment
We spend a large portion of our time at work. If your office is dirty, cramped, uncomfortable or otherwise unpleasant, this can cause your team to feel stressed. Not every company can afford plush penthouse decor, but updating your office doesn’t have to break the bank. Provide staff with a breakout area to hold informal meetings or unwind on their lunch breaks, ensure that every team member has enough desk space and a comfortable office chair, and keep the office clean and tidy.
Schedule regular one-to-one time
Making time to catch up with each of your team members individually gives them an opportunity to discuss any concerns or issues they might have before they escalate. Try to look for the common reasons why salespeople fail and work with your team member to prevent and overcome any problems nice and early. There might be tensions bubbling under the surface which you aren’t aware of, or individuals might be struggling with issues outside of work. Regular one-to-one meetings provide the opportunity to discuss these issues in private, and means you can address problems early on.
Encourage teamwork and collaboration
Encourage your team to work together to overcome problems, and to socialise with one another. A recent study found that people who forge friendships at work tend to feel more supported and encouraged, and that their co-workers will help them during times of stress and challenge. Positive working relationships help with stress management, and can mean that people feel less isolated when they’re under pressure.
Destigmatize mental health at work
Mental health issues are more common than a lot of people think; one in five adults in America will experience a mental health problem each year. The Workplace Health Survey conducted by Mental Health America found that 63% of respondents felt workplace stress had a significant impact on their mental health.
Unfortunately there is still a stigma attached to mental health issues that can mean employees don’t feel comfortable talking about it at work. Taking steps to destigmatize mental health in the workplace creates an open and honest work environment in which every team member feels supported and valued.