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A Boss' Guide to Relieving Office Stress

  • April 13, 2022
A Boss' Guide to Relieving Office Stress

It is no secret that stress can have such a devastating effect on a workplace, be that a physical or mental effect…

Everyone knows this, it has been said time and time again.

But what can bosses do to help reduce this general stress, considering that the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health found that:

- 80% of workers feel stressed whilst working

- 40% would describe their job as being very or extremely stressful

- 25% of workers class their jobs as being the biggest stressor in their lives

In order to bring these numbers down, those leading the workplace may want to consider bringing about some sort of change to how the company is being run. This should not only be changing the general work culture in the office but also the boss’ own behaviour (this is often overlooked when said bosses are the ones assessing the working conditions).

A big one here is down to emailing outside of work hours

This one can be extremely intimidating, your boss messages you outside of work hours and it can be very easy to feel obliged to respond as they are your boss and control your work stability. This can even be the case when a disclaimer is put out telling workers that they do not need to reply until their work hours start up again… Knowing there is an email you need to reply to whilst you are supposed to be relaxing can feel more taxing than quickly just responding, and thus the cycle begins.

Even if the employee does wait to respond, now they have seen the email it will be hard to take it off of their minds. This now makes it impossible for the person to truly soak up their time off between working hours and this can very easily lead to the team feeling burned out quickly. This is the worst result for a team, it will only result in slower and less efficient working.

This is easily remedied, however… The feature to schedule emails exists for a reason, use it! It is very simple to just schedule your email for 9am the following morning so that your staff know they are not expected to reply in their free time and that they do not have to worry about it overnight.

Vague Requests to Meet

This is one of the most stressful messages a person can get. There is absolutely no explanation given and you are just told to see/talk with your boss for no real reason.

‘Call me tomorrow morning at 9.’

What for?

Am I in trouble?

Did I do something wrong?

It must be bad if there is no more context…

These are just a few thoughts that can flood your mind when you receive a message like this. The endless negative possibilities take centre stage in your mind, it is rare you will think something positive in a situation like this. If it was positive you would presume your boss would include some kind of reassurance in the original request.

The psychological turmoil is strong when your brain is left to fill in the blanks

It is easy to rationalise it after the meeting, telling yourself you had done nothing wrong etc, but in the moment it is hard to think logically when panic sets in.

This is consequently such a huge stressor.

Next time you send a message like this, simply add some context to your request. Not only will this prevent stress but it will also give your employee time to think of valid points to bring to the discussion in advance, resulting in a more productive conversation.

False Sense Of Urgency

Action, results and achievement are obviously integral to a lot of companies, but the constant pushing for these above all else (including your employees’ mental wellbeing) can be extremely damaging.

Though it is important to have deadlines, they have to be realistic and attainable.

Unnecessary urgency can result in your staff having added stress for no reason at all. This can also lead to them getting more stressed over more simple tasks that they would otherwise be fine to do because there is now added pressure to everything that they are doing.

It is hard for people to clearly see the big picture here when all they can see are deadlines impending. It is important to allow your employees to take a step back and just breathe. Allow your staff to do this rather than constantly be on their toes with no time to relax and look at all of their hard work.

As the boss it is down to you to ensure the wellbeing of employees. Make sure you are actively listening to your team, if they claim this is an issue then make sure it is solved as efficiently as you can.