David Price, CEO of Health Assured, suggests six ways to help employees destress on the job.

All jobs can create stress, even if you love what you do. Deadlines, targets, presentations, new equipment, systems change: the workplace is full of potentially stressful situations. Short-term stress can be thrilling, pushes us to get things done, boosts immunity and does us no harm. However, a build-up of stress can have negative consequences for employees, often manifesting in fatigue, a lack of motivation and anxiety.

It is important not to overlook workplace stress as it can undermine employee engagement and impact peoples’ ability to work effectively. Rather, employers should aim to create a working environment that inspires employees to work hard and enjoy coming to work every day. As such, they need to focus on counteracting sources of stress and give employees a chance to feel motivated and re-energised.

Some actions that employees can take to reduce stress in the workplace include the following.

  1. Introduce workplace wellness schemes

    Exercise and a healthy lifestyle are imperative when it comes to combating workplace related stress. Employee wellness schemes, such as a subsidised gym membership or providing free fruit, are a good way to help employee health and wellbeing, and make employees feel cared for.

  2. Encourage social activities

    Employees spend a lot of time with their co-workers and therefore it’s important they get along. The more people enjoy their time at work, the better the atmosphere will be — and a better office atmosphere leads to higher levels of productivity, creativity and collaboration. Setting aside an hour now and again to bring your team together in a fun environment can be great for reducing employee stress, boosting morale and team building. Maybe try finishing early on Friday and providing complimentary drinks and nibbles.

  3. Communicate with your employees

    Open communication is critical in leadership; keeping employees up-to-date regarding changes, expectations and their own performance not only keeps them on track, but also reduces feelings of stress and anxiety — after all there is nothing worse than being kept in the dark. It is important to keep employees abreast of the latest developments and departmental changes. What’s more, open communication is a two-way street and the more employers converse with employees, the more likely employees are to share concerns, ideas and thoughts, which makes for much stronger working relationships and a healthier overall company culture.

  4. Provide a “chill out” space in the office

    Sometimes people need 15 minutes to relax, regroup and disengage from technology and work-related interactions. Providing a quiet room or a chill out zone where employees can spend 15 minutes with their thoughts can dramatically help reduce workplace stress. After taking a short break free from distractions, people often feel refreshed and re-energised to tackle the rest of the day.

  5. Think about the office environment

    Most businesses cannot afford to build their own office, complete with health food restaurants and indoor bike lanes, etc. However, there is always room for improvement, particularly when it could boost productivity and overall job satisfaction. Perhaps a brighter office, more modern office furniture, plants in the office, new pictures — even small changes like new office cutlery and kitchenware will make the working environment conducive to work.

  6. Consider flexible and remote working

    Non-flexible working hours are a major stress inducer. Allowing employees to work remotely or flexibly is proven to be good for morale. Positives of this are that you are entrusting an employee to manage their own time, taking away additional stress, eg childcare considerations for working parents. Flexible working must be managed with open communication and by outlining clear expectations and parameters.

For more detailed guidance on stress, plus a range of useful resources including a Line Managers Guide, see your Stress at Work topic.

Last reviewed 6 November 2018