By definition, long-term employment carries a lot of inherent stress that might not be obvious right away but over time starts chipping away at productivity of individuals or entire teams. It is in the best interest of the employers to keep stress at a minimum, thus protecting the wellbeing of the workers as well as company bottom line. However, it is very difficult to control everything that’s going on around an office and managers are often caught unaware that some of their most irreplaceable workers might be on the verge of a breakdown.
While it’s probably not possible to completely eliminate stress from the modern workplace, the following techniques could at least keep it at a reasonable level:
- Flexible working hours
In some industries, it makes sense to allow a degree of flexibility in terms of attendance. For example, workers who are engaged on a demanding project and often stay after hours could be permitted to check in a little bit later the next morning. Total number of work hours doesn’t have to be reduced in this way, but employees will be energized by the opportunity to manage their own time at least in some aspects.
- Careful workload management
Overworking your best employees is a dangerous strategy, since it can lead to burnout after a long, intensive period. That’s why it’s important to have an adequately staffed office where colleagues are able to help each other when a project reaches a bottleneck. Keeping the team fresh and well-motivated is paramount, so sometimes it makes sense to give days off to key people whenever the schedule allows it. Task scheduling software can be very helpful for this purpose, too.
- Transparent compensation and promotion mechanisms
Everyone is concerned out about money, and it’s much better when the criteria that determine pay level are laid out clearly in advance. Instead of worrying about their status, workers who have a good understanding of company policy can focus on meeting the requirements for advancement. Transparency also reduces the chances for intra-office rivalries and enables managers and supervisors to have a more friendly relationship with members of the teams they lead.
- Improving internal communication
Formal atmosphere of an office sometimes makes it difficult for people to open up and share their opinions about vital issues, leading to a lack of mutual trust over the long run. In a well-managed company, employees have a built-in support system in the HR department and have access to communication channels where they can speak honestly without fear of being judged by others or punished financially.
- Non-curricular activities
Enabling employees to engage in some kind of fun activity while taking a short break is a good way to introduce a welcome distraction and reduce tension. Drawing boards and puzzle games can do the trick, while more affluent companies might even think about installing facilities for sports activities like table tennis or billiards. Of course, it will be up to management to make sure that excessive leisure time doesn’t endanger the delivery plan.