Save Your Employees Some Stress

By Bob Starr

Does your small business promote the kind of culture that increases productivity? Overloaded, stressed out employees aren’t helping your bottom line. What’s worse, their stress often starts before they clock in.

How to Help Employees Reduce Stress

Small Business Trends spoke with Stacey Engle, EVP of Fierce Conversations. She supplied 10 ways to help employees reduce stress and increase work productivity.

Focus on Open Communication

“This is about equipping your employees to have conversations they need to have,” Engle says. “It’s definitely understated.”

Sometimes small business owners take things for granted because they know their employees. Not assuming the lines of communication are open is the first step.

Listen to Them

Small business owners need to master this aspect of management. During the course of any business day, it’s easy to get ahead of yourself. Looking at your employees in the eye while they talk helps you to slow down and maintain the kind of contact that works.


Encourage Them to Ask for What They Need

This should apply for short term requests like working from home on any day for a variety of reasons. Being aware that your employees circumstances can change is behind this tip. For example, this is a great solution when a babysitter doesn’t show up.

Build a Community Among Them

Team leaders who know how to promote a good culture make sure they encourage team members to support each other.

“They can’t always pass off workloads to other team members,” Engle says, “ but having a sounding board is also extremely important in reducing stress. Building a community in the workplace is very important.”

Allow for Personal Touches

The kind of atmosphere you allow employees to create increases their productivity. If you allow them to decorate their cubicles, they’ll feel more at ease about the work they need to do. Letting them increase the amount of natural light they get lessens their stress. It can be as simple as opening a shade.

Be Transparent

Good leaders don’t shy away from letting their employees know how they feel about workload challenges and such. Engle says this is a huge part of helping employees to understand a small businesses’ approach to a productive, engaged culture.

Be Authentic

This is an important part of trust building between managers and employees. Fierce Conversations hinges this aspect of what Engle calls “ persistent identity,” in conversations.

Check Your Intentions Often

Small business owners always want to increase the bottom line. They always need to be aware the best way to increase that is to be aware the fact they are dealing with fellow human beings. Taking the time to make sure you’ve got this balance in mind before you give direction works best.

Provide Mental Health Days

It’s not only important to provide this option, but to make sure employees feel comfortable enough to share whether their stress is work related or not. Gathering information here from people who feel stressed out help you round off any jagged edges in company culture.


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