6 simple HR strategies to help reduce workplace stress

October 16th 2018 | Posted by phil scott

6 simple HR strategies to help reduce workplace stress

6 simple HR strategies to help reduce workplace stress

In 2016/17, 12.5 million workdays were lost due to work-related stress, depression or anxiety, highlighting the significant impact it can have on employee health.

It’s the job of an HR professional to understand the causes of workplace stress and developing mechanisms to help reduce this, for both the overall health and wellbeing of employees and the success of the business.

Why is it important to be committed to reducing stress in the workplace?

Employers have a commitment to their employees to provide a good working environment with appropriate, manageable day-to-day pressure levels.

With the HR department responsible for employee wellbeing, combating workplace stress should be top of their agenda.  A company of happy, healthy employees who are loyal to a business and productive in their roles can only happen if workplace stress is given the focus it deserves within the HR remit.

What simple strategies can help reduce workplace stress?

Making simple, yet effective changes within a business can reap widespread benefits and help reduce stress in the workplace.

1. Create a healthy and constructive physical environment

Making an employee’s physical working environment more positive can visibly improve stress levels.  Easy steps, such as making sure there is sufficient desk space, a comfortable chair, room to move around the office, open spaces to engage with teammates, natural light where possible and informal, welcoming spaces for downtime are all ways to improve a physical work environment.

2.  Fine-tune line management so that it’s effective AND tailored

No two people are the same, so a line manager can’t manage every employee with the same approach.

An effective line manager, who can bring out the best in every individual their team, will adapt their management style to suit the needs of each person.  Employee stress levels can be reduced if people are comfortable in their relationship with their manager, being able to raise issues and feeling motivated to succeed.

3. Open up the lines of communication

Stress levels can increase if employees find it difficult to communicate any worries, feedback, issues or areas of difficulty.  Feeling that communication is a struggle for any reason can have a significant detrimental impact and opening up these channels is key to making a difference.

Enhancing communication can be easily achieved in a number of ways, including regular one-to-one meetings with line managers, frequent team meetings, open door drop-in sessions and anonymous feedback forms.

4. Encourage employees to take time out

Daily time-out like a lunch break is crucial to reducing workplace stress, but it’s easy for employees to forget to prioritise downtime and to only focus on deadlines.  This is where HR comes in.

Giving employees the encouragement they need to have breaks away from a screen or out of a meeting room, take the time to eat and the opportunity to get fresh air are key.  Ensuring that taking to time re-charge and refuel is engrained in company culture andf can make a difference.

5. Offer help with time management

Feeling confident and succeeding in a job can be impacted by a person’s confidence in managing their workload.  There are often conflicting priorities, rolling deadlines and ongoing projects with a risk of the workload becoming overwhelming.

A supportive employer can offer training and strategies to help employees improve their time management skills.  Other simple points like setting realistic deadlines, creating timelines to deliver projects and reviewing workload to see if work needs to be re-prioritised can also help.

6. Give praise, thanks and positive feedback

Thanks and gratitude can go a long way in helping to reduce stress levels as it creates a feeling of positivity and appreciation.

Employees who are working hard to deliver for the company can be re-motivated and inspired to do well by working with people who recognise and appreciate their commitment and hard work.

If you are looking now or in the future for new HR opportunities, please contact us.