As we all know too well, stress doesn’t just disappear when you leave the office for the day. Like email notifications on your phone, stress follows you home each day, affecting your personal relationships, as well as your mental and physical health. When left unacknowledged, stress can cause a bevy of health problems, including anxiety, depression, insomnia, high blood pressure, hypertension, and even increase the likelihood of heart disease. While you can’t eradicate stress from your life or change your immediate circumstances at work, there are still things you can do to help alleviate the stress for both you and your employees.
Managing Your Own Stress
1. Eat Right
When you’re stressed out and busy, it’s easy to resort to eating junk food and sugary snacks, but in the long run unhealthy eating habits only serve to make the stress worse. Try replacing one meal a day with a healthier option, and come to the office with a supply of fruits, veggies, and high protein snacks to improve both your mood and energy levels. Taking daily supplements like fish oil, vitamin D, and B12 can also go a long way toward making up for nutrients your diet may lack.
2. Get Away from Your Desk
Physical movement is an easy way to feel better quickly when stress has your muscles tied up in knots. If you’re not into getting a gym membership or starting a running regimen, that’s okay. Even simple moves like stretching and taking short walks can get your blood flowing, release some endorphins, and clear your head.
3. Establish Boundaries
Today’s technology means that we’re always available and visible, making it hard to establish boundaries and step away from the office. However, setting these kinds of boundaries is now more important than ever to maintaining balance and managing stress. Set clear expectations with supervisors and employees about when you are available on any given day, and then stick to those hours. This gives you the space to relax, recharge, and enjoy your personal life without pesky pings and emails getting in the way.
4. Get Organized to Avoid Distraction
With so many ways to get in touch and so many distractions constantly at your fingertips, avoiding interruptions and staying organized can feel almost impossible. In today’s culture, we have a tendency bounce between tasks instead of staying focused, which can make you feel overwhelmed and ineffective, increasing stress. Getting organized can help.
Use your calendar wisely, blocking off chunks of time during which you’re not available so you can work solo without distraction. Use the “do not disturb” function on your phone, or even set time limits on certain apps to cut down on unnecessary distractions. Having a clear and consistent action plan for your workday can help cut down on “multi-tasking,” email interruptions, and meetings that encroach into personal work time. And don’t underestimate the power of a clean workspace! Organizing knick-knacks, paperwork, and clearing up your physical work environment can improve clarity and mental focus.
5. Ask for Support
Traditional offices can often feel isolating, and a heavy workload can double that feeling, but you don’t need to handle everything on your own. If you’re feeling stressed and overwhelmed, turn to colleagues and friends for support and advice and make time for casual social interaction around the office. Not only will it create a more collaborative atmosphere, it will take some of the pressure off to figure everything out on your own.
Your company may also offer stress management resources like counseling, online information, or referrals to mental health professionals, all of which can steer you toward healthier habits and reduce the side effects of untreated stress.
Helping Your Team Manage Stress
As a manager, you’re not only responsible for your own stress, you’re also responsible for the well-being and productivity of the employees you oversee. Here are a few tips you can use to keep your team from burning out when the going gets tough.
1. Encourage Time Off
Taking time off from work is a great way to alleviate stress and gain some mental clarity. Encourage your team to utilize their vacation time or flex days to get away from the office and create a team culture of healthy boundaries. If employees feel that their personal time and well-being are valued, they are more likely to feel more positive and motivated while at work.
2. Check in With Your Employees
The best way to reduce stress in the work environment is to ask your employees what they need. Listen to your team about what makes their job stressful, like understaffing, unrealistic deadlines, or out of date technology, and then work with them to implement changes. Even monthly 1:1s will give you a better idea of what’s happening day to day and make your employees feel more valued.
3. Use Rewards and Incentives
A little appreciation can go a long way. Encourage team building and social interaction within the team, acknowledge good work verbally and across the organization, and follow up stressful periods with fewer tight deadlines. Even bringing in bagels to your monthly team meeting, or planning an after-hours outing can improve the dynamic and reduce stress and tension.
4. Improve Systems and Technology
When your employees already have a lot of work on their plates, simple back-end operational and clerical work can become a huge drag. Work with your team to implement improved systems and channels of communication. Where possible, utilize office management software or cloud computing technology to streamline administrative tasks like booking meetings, updating workflows and calendars, or preparing for presentations. This will free up you and your team to focus on the work that really matters, ramp up productivity and efficiency, and cut down on stressful to-do lists.
A flexible environment and the right management tools are the keys to decreasing stress in the modern workplace. AskCody’s office management platform helps streamline administrative operations like scheduling meetings, booking IT resources and meeting rooms, and managing visitors and reservations. With features like an intuitive cloud management portal and insights and analytics, AskCody gives your organization the ability to win back lost productivity while reducing office friction.