In today’s business world, employees are required to be skilled in multiple fields, work efficiently (do more work in less time) as well as bring innovation in the workplace. The roles of managers has also changed overtime, from supervising to working closely with employees and giving them more flexibility in their work schedules. 

However, a workplace culture which demands more from its employees without giving back or paying attention to their needs can lead to productivity loss and serious burnout overtime, resulting in labor turnover, absenteeism, lower production levels, medical, legal and insurance costs which all amounts to more than 300 billion dollars a year in costs to businesses in the US.

With that said, managers must tackle work related stress, which in turn leads to burnout, to improve workplace wellness as well as increase employee engagement at the same time, and they can prevent burnout by doing as follows. 

1. Creating a work environment which decreases overall stress

Unreasonable deadlines, unclear expectations and lack of communication heighten workplace stress. 

Psychological safety can be built by managers giving clarity as to what is expected by employees by establishing SMART ( specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound) goals, and making sure their voices are heard by allowing them to speak up in meetings and brainstorming sessions. 

The human mind can focus around 90-120 minutes before it needs rest, therefore it is important to make sure employees take a break every couple of hours to ensure they’re in the right mental space to perform well in their tasks. Allowing for flexible work hours based on individual schedules can help employees better balance their work life schedules and reduce overall stress in the workplace. 

2. Stress Busters

Stress busting activities not only relieve stress, but looking forward to these activities also helps in reducing stress.  Activities like zoomba and yoga classes or having a day in the week where a masseuse can set up a table for employees to enjoy a relaxing massage to get their minds off of work can help alleviate employee morale and reduce stress, as it shows that the organization cares about their wellness and well being by investing in these activities for their betterment.

Moreover, since many people like watching movies to destress, companies can hold movie marathons over the weekends where employees can binge marvel movies in order or any other series that most of them love.

3. Ambiance and active design

Ambiance and the way the work place is designed has a big impact on employee stress and psyche. Having natural light and colors to brighten up some spaces or allowing employees to decorate and organize their individual work spaces to their liking can help them feel more comfortable at work and help reduce stress.

Lunch breaks are the main forms of break in most corporate environments, therefore managers should make sure that their employees go out for lunch and if that is not feasible, then making an inviting break room space could provide a change of scenery which would help employees re-energize and take their minds off of work, allowing them to manage their stress. Active design means designing the work space to encourage employees to move more throughout the day as studies show, the more people move, the healthier they will be.

4. Building employee engagement

Research has shown that higher employee engagement (how emotionally and mentally connected an employee feels to his or her work space) has many positive benefits, such as overall job satisfaction, higher productivity which leads to profitability, and reduced work stress. 

Employee engagement can be built in several ways. By managers being transparent and showing how employees work helps contribute towards the bigger picture and achieve the overall aims of the organization, employees are more likely to be engaged and feel a sense of belonging rather than being clueless of how they are vital to the organization achieving its goals. 

Making sure that the right people are working in the right roles ensures that the employees talents and strengths are aligned with their responsibilities and what is expected of them at their specific tasks. 

Employees should also be given more autonomy in decision making and deciding when to do tasks, as it prevents burnout and lack of creativity from not having freedom of doing work the way employees want to. Actively recognizing the hard work and contributions of employees decreases stress and increases feelings of belonging as support and recognition act as a coping mechanism to work related stress by showing employees that their efforts are appreciated. 

team building events

Other miscellaneous methods include but are not limited to the following:

A flash mob, or something similar can be a pleasant surprise during a stressful work day as employees gather to take part in fun filled activities to unwind. 

Bring your puppy/ pet to work day, as puppies or pets are proven stress relievers.

Investing in faster and better technology helps technology work for you rather than it causing frustrations when it comes to time delays (lag) and slow performance which can be a great source of stress for employees trying to get their work done on time.

Inspirational quotes around the office either on the bulletin or around the walls of the office can help boost morale and combat stress by giving a positive mindset. 

Stress in the workplace is inevitable. No matter how much one tries to eliminate sources of stress, sometimes the root cause of stress itself can’t be managed due to practical reasons (personal issues, the nature of the work environment itself).

It is important for businesses and managers to follow these above methods to counter work related stress and improve overall morale as burnout and low productivity can have detrimental effects on both employees’ well-being as well as business performance.

Thus managing stress leads to happier employees as reduced stress levels boosts their morale and keeps them motivated to do their jobs better.