Hard hats, reflective vests, and hearing and eye protection are some of the things that help us feel safer at work. But so are company meetings, progress reports, and constructive feedback. Our mental well-being at work is just as important as our physical health and safety, and for many of us, it's an issue that's more usually present in our daily lives.
Reducing and avoiding stress in our workplace is something that's in everyone’s power – here are 5 ways to get started.
People want to be in the picture at work. The niggling feeling that something important may be going on that you're not aware of, or the sudden discovery that something has happened, can actually be a major cause of stress. If you're in management, you can help by being as transparent as possible about the direction a project is going. And if you're an employee, you can help by keeping your coworkers in the loop too.
Another big cause of workplace stress is the workload. It can be a problem if timelines shift but workloads don't, or if employees are tasked with unachievable deadlines or work pace. There’s a simple fix – a realistic, flexible approach to distributing work can be a huge relief. Set realistic goals and timelines with the input of everyone on the team, and re-assess and re-distribute work as requirements change.
Cleanliness and organization can provide a soothing background to a crazy day. The cleaner, quieter, more organized and attractive a workplace is, the less stressed people will be. Sometimes it's possible to improve the environment itself, by installing brighter, warmer lighting, or allowing employees to customize their own space. And the rest of the time, equip employees with solutions to manage that sensory overload, like noise-reducing earplugs or headphones.
Every worker's preferences and needs are a little bit different, so getting people involved in important workplace decisions will help workers share ideas that will help them most. Whether it's scheduling working hours, taking suggestions at all-company meetings, or allowing people to work their own way, giving people a little input can go a long way.