Stress in the workplace has been a common theme for decades and technological advances have done little to alleviate it. It is estimated to cost American businesses up to $300 billion a year and with “always on” e-mail, it means that there can often be nowhere to hide, destress and recharge for under-pressure employees. For many people, work has simply blended into becoming an all-encompassing aspect of life, not just an 8-hour daily shift.
As it can cost a project so much energy and lost productivity, knowing how to reduce stress among your team is an important skill for project managers. To help you out, here are some of the best stress reduction techniques to help your team remain calm and focused.
How to Reduce Stress in Your Team
Take short breaks often
Even a brief time away from a highly focused task can refresh the mind and relieve the stress on your brain. Encourage staff to take a break every 30 to 40 minutes, even if it’s just to get up and take a walk around the office for a few minutes.
Be open to discussion
Being a good listener and proactive support are important skills when helping your team to de-stress. Let team-members know that your door is open if they feel certain things are getting on top of them, then combine hearing them out with brainstorming solutions for how they can overcome these issues.
Set “unplugged” time
It can be easy for team members to think they are showing how dedicated they are by firing off an email at 8 o’clock in the evening and remote teams can also have especially chaotic schedules. As a manager, one of the best things you can do is set out an “unplugged” period, a time after which no-one is to send a work-related e-mail or message. Different people like to work at different times, but the team needs to know that after a certain point on the clock, their own time is theirs to do with as they wish.
In many jobs, the sedentary, desk-based work setting can have very unhealthy consequences, including poorer circulation and blood-sugar issues. One of the best stress reduction techniques is to get the office moving, which can be done in many ways, such as supporting walking groups or instituting a weekly “action” event like bringing in a yoga teacher or office workout instructor.
Look after their sleep
It is believed that the best thing someone can do for their health is to sleep well, yet far too few people actually do that. This can have major knock-on effects for stress levels and productivity among your team, even though it is something largely outside your control. As well as providing information to your team you can talk to them about working hours and whether being flexible in their work schedule could assist their sleep patterns.
Provide escapist activities
Unwinding from a tough task can be a task in itself. To ensure that your team can actually switch off while they are taking breaks, provide activities, such as drawing, music-making or games which participants are required to actively engage and so take their mind off work that might be stressing them.