Here at Will Williams Meditation, we think corporate wellbeing is really important. We spend so much of our lives working that making that time as enjoyable and fulfilling as possible should be a big priority across society. If you run a business or manage employees, helping staff manage stress during tough times could make a huge difference to their lives in general.
Employee stress (and its impact on both personal wellbeing and professional productivity) is a persistent concern for business and team leaders. According to the Health and Safety Executive 526,000 people suffered from work-related stress, depression or anxiety in 2016/17, and 12.5 million working days were lost.
When times are tough and businesses (or other organisations) experience commercial uncertainty, a difficult transition, or the sudden departure of a key member of staff, this stress can be compounded. Entrepreneurs and managers carry the responsibility of guiding the establishment out of the storm, while simultaneously protecting their employee’s health and wellbeing.
Leading your team back to stability and success is not without its challenges, but by following these tips you can keep a lid on employee stress.
Be Honest and Open
While the impulse to not worry your team is understandable, if you are dealing with profound and noticeable problems, a lack of communication on your part can foster atmosphere of speculation and fear. You don’t have to share every detail, but openness and honesty will bolster the trust employees have in you and your integrity, and will help them appreciate their place in the long term recovery.
Acknowledge the Problem, But Find the Positives
It’s important to acknowledge the difficulties your business is experiencing, but it is possible to find the positives even in very demanding situations; often by focusing on the opportunities that come with change.
For example, perhaps operational problems have made it clear that the business or organisation would benefit from some restructuring. In this case, you can use the change to actually benefit your employees by asking them where their skills are underutilised, and tailoring a job role that is more suited to them.
Help Your Staff Manage Their Workload
Whether you’ve been forced to downsize or have had an influx of business that’s left you with more clients or customers than you can currently cope with (one of those “good problems”), there are many moments in the working world where every member of the team sees an increase in workload.
Your key focus will be to resolve the issue as soon as possible, whether that’s by taking on new employees or streamlining your services so your team can cope with demand. But in the meantime, there are other ways you can keep stress at bay.
Firstly, make it clear that you completely understand that your staff are under extra pressure, and make sure – as the boss – that you are seen to be working just as hard as they are to keep everything together. Secondly, look into the areas where you can save people time. One solution is to cut back on meetings (the Harvard Business Review surveyed 182 senior managers in a range of industries, and found that 65% said meetings keep them from completing their own work) and allow trusted members of staff to make executive decisions.
Don’t Let Workplace Wellbeing Practices Slip
It’s understandable, when you need everyone to be working efficiently, to let good practice in workplace wellness to slip. However, this can do more harm than good, as burnout and stress damage productivity and can even lead to extended sick leave.
Make sure staff take their breaks, don’t check emails outside of work hours, and if you simply cannot avoid a key deadline and you need staff to work late into the night/do consistent overtime, give them a couple of free days holiday when things calm down. It’s also helpful to encourage wellness habits like meditation, or get the team to leave their desks and go on walks during their breaks.
Even the smallest everyday actions can make a difference, and as a employer, you can make a real difference to people’s health, happiness and state of mind – even through challenges and tough times.
Check out our corporate wellbeing page to find out more.