7 Strategies to Keep You and Your Staff Stress-Free at Work
Work – rushing to meet deadlines, make payments and keep clients happy…no wonder most of us feel stressed all the time!
To an extent this is normal, and part of the excitement of working as part of a small business is getting that buzz from rushing to do an important task. But if things get out of hand, stress can have a really significant impact on your health, productivity, and creativity. The same goes for your staff, too.
So, what’s the key to not getting overwhelmed by workplace stress and always being the best boss you can be? Below are seven strategies to keep you doing what you do best without crumbling under the strain. Incense sticks not included…
1. Learn to Communicate Better
One of the major components of workplace stress is a lack of communication. If employees are in the dark about your plans and thoughts about their performance, or if you don’t know that your workforce is unhappy about particular things, the tension and stress can build quickly.
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You can begin to deal with this by having regular staff meetings that give workers a feel for how the company is doing, and what your plans are. Employees also benefit from feedback on their performance, and encouragement to put forward ideas to help the company grow.
As a worker, it can be hard to approach the boss and suggest they’re not a good communicator, so you have to ensure those channels are open. Make it clear that you welcome feedback and tell your staff how you prefer to communicate – for example, telling them if you would appreciate a summary in an email rather than a long chat can be helpful.
2. Manage Your Time
Another major source of stress is bad time management. If your schedule always seems to slip away from you and your deadlines always take you by surprise, either you’re overloaded with work or you need to refine your schedule.
If you’ve got too much work, learn to delegate. Too many people see it as a weakness if they can’t do everything. Learning not to take on more than you can handle is tough as most small business owners are programmed never to say no, but if you are overwhelmed it’s a sure sign that you either need freelance or permanent help.
If your schedule is driving you mad, analyse it. Distinguish between what you’d like to do and what you have to do. Hiveage has excellent task handling features that can help with invoicing, estimating, and payments, and can take the pain out of vital but time-consuming chores such as tracking time, expenses and mileage, not to mention managing multiple teams and businesses.
Another small, simple way to save a little time each day? Learnhow to use email templates for the emails you send most often.
3. Give Employees Space
Employees can struggle if they feel the boss is constantly hovering over them, criticising their work and how they do it. As the boss, you may feel you need to supervise strongly to make sure everything is done just how you’d like it, but this sort of ‘helicopter bossing’ can be a real source of stress.
Learn to trust your employees – having confidence in your staff is critical for a small business. This is where you can leverage the communication and feedback process – if you set what you see as reasonable targets, you should be able to give your staff the space to hit these. If they don’t, it’s time for a discussion to analyse why.
4. Listen to Others
You know how irritated you get when you don’t think people are paying attention to what you say? Guess what, it works both ways.
While being able to talk to your work colleagues is extremely important, the art of listening is equally key. ‘Active listening’ or ‘effective listening’ means not just sitting there nodding, but paying real attention to what you’re being told and acting upon it.
Take notes when you’re in meetings – it helps to reassure staff that you’re interested in what they’re saying and helps boost their confidence that you really are paying attention. And don’t just throw those notes away afterwards – they’re for acting on, not for show. And if you’re serious about improving your work relationships you should also pay attention to body language – here’s a basic primer.
5. Keep a Sense of Perspective
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by workplace pressures. Sometimes the office can be a claustrophobic environment and you may find yourself endlessly worrying about all sorts of aspects of your workday and relationships.
It’s important to realise this is a bad habit and learn to step back. When you find yourself chewing over something that’s happening at work, you have to be able to look at it critically and ask: is it all that important? Will this matter to me this time next week?
If you can take a deep breath and sort the things you can change (and work out practical ways of doing this) from things you cannot (and stop worrying about them), you will find that many trivial worries will simply drop off your radar.
6. Make the Best of Your Office
Okay, we’re not all Google. You probably can’t invest in sleep pods and unlimited free food for the lucky staff in your workplace. But there definitely are things you can do.
You can make the workplace environment as comfortable as possible: decent lighting, good ventilation, and heating and cooling all matter as much as good office furniture.
If possible, let staff have a say in how they would like their workspace arranged. Open spaces with low dividers are great, but if someone is working on a project that requires concentration, having space that can be set aside where there are fewer distractions is very helpful.
Try for less clutter (which means plenty of storage space), appreciation of individual touches, and colour schemes that promote a calm and positive atmosphere (see this guide).
7. Take a Break
Set limits to your day. You need to rest as well as work, and if you can’t achieve this you run the real risk of burning out and finding you’re incapable of working effectively.
If you’ve gone through the process of sorting your schedule, you should be able to pencil in some ‘me’ time. If you need a timeout during the day, experts are now saying that mindfulness meditation can make real changes to your mindset. Also, make the effort to ensure you can have your evenings and weekends work-free. Whatever you love to do, make a point of finding time for it.
While workplace stress is common, it needn’t be the bane of your office life. Learn a few simple rules that will help to make your day in the office far more pleasant and productive. You should:
- Communicate well with your co-workers.
- Manage your time.
- Give your employees space to work.
- Listen to your fellow workers.
- Keep a sense of perspective about your worries.
- Make your office a great place to work.
- Take a break away from office worries.
A few simple changes can really reduce the amount of stress on yourself and those around you – which will make you, and them, far more happy and productive.
Have you found ways to get round office stress? What’s your favourite stress buster? Let us know in the comments section below!
Of course, nothing is more important to reducing workplace stress than getting paid- so stick with Hiveage to learn everything fromhow to make an invoice to where to get the best deal on business cards.
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