Five ways to combat work-related stress in your team

Dealing with stress in the workplace can be difficult as a manager, it is clear that a stressed team can be less productive. This ultimately leads to a high turnover of staff, and can have a negative effect on the bottom line. It was revealed earlier this year in a study conducted by the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work, that Irish workers are amongst the most stressed in Europe. As a manager or business leader, it is crucial to recognise the reasons behind work-related stress in your organisation. A number of Irish businesses have shown their support for mental-health awareness initiatives. But, it is important to take action to resolve these issues.

We have come up with five tips for recognising the factors that can cause stress in your team.

Manage effectively

It is crucial to support your staff throughout their career. Regular one-to-one meetings to discuss workload and priorities can be helpful to ensure your staff feel a sense of direction within their role. Undermanaging your staff can cause them to feel a lack of support in their day-to-day role. However, be sure not to over-manage your staff either. No matter if you have good intentions, they could feel undervalued and not trusted to fulfil their role. This can demotivate staff, causing them to feel unnecessarily anxious about their performance.

Communicate regularly 

It may seem obvious to some professionals that communication at work is important. But, between director and manager, and manager and executive, it is important to communicate regularly to maintain working relationships across the team. Investing time into your team in the form of regular catch-ups and informal chats, will rapidly build trust among employees. It is always positive to pinpoint your teams’ strengths and weaknesses, working smarter in terms of work allocation will promote productivity within the business. 

If you fail to have regular conversations with your team, you could be unaware of any stress or problems they are facing in the workplace. Missing these conversations early on could lead to an employee taking time off work or leaving the business completely, due to stress.

Support your team

Employees can feel stressed for a number of reasons. One of them is that they feel unable to ask for support from colleagues and management to successfully carry out their tasks. If this isn’t dealt with accordingly, the stress and unhappiness that follows can become apparent very quickly. 

Regardless of whether or not you believe your team needs continual support, offer it nonetheless. Keeping your door open to your staff at any point, for any reason, is important to ensure they feel as though they can come to you with any work-related problem. It is important to consider that any employee, at any level, can suffer from work-related stress. It isn’t good for the individual, team or the entire company to have over-stressed employees.

Promote realistic workloads

As a team leader, it is your job to delegate and be aware of the workload of every member of your team. Junior members may feel overwhelmed with their workload in a new role. Similarly, more experienced members of the team will often be asked questions by more junior members, or asked to do tasks that colleagues don’t feel comfortable doing themselves. These small tasks will add up, potentially leading to stress in the future.

Make sure you are paying close attention to the workload of your team members. This can be done by regular meetings of what everyone is working on at the moment. If team members are working on projects they shouldn’t be, or have too much on their plate, you can reassign and prioritise workloads accordingly.

Encourage a healthy work-life balance

All managers will know the importance of keeping working deadlines, however, the happiness of your staff is more important than this. Happy staff will produce the best work. It is common for staff to work through the evening or on the weekend and this can significantly reduce the amount of time left over to spend with family and friends. 

Make sure you are setting realistic weekly targets. If your employees are constantly sending out-of-hours emails, or are working on the weekends, sit them down and rearrange their workload so that it is achievable during their working day. This will reduce stress, and boost productivity when they are in the office.

For more advice on how to improve your team and managerial skills, have a look at our management advice articles. Alternatively, if you are looking to grow your team get in touch with one of our specialist recruitment consultants today. 

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