5 creative ways to reduce stress in the office and for remote teams
Author: IntaPeople | Date published: 13/04/22
The STEM field is a fast paced and rewarding field for many, but for others this can easily lead to high levels of stress, anxiety, and burnout. Studies have shown that one in three UK tech professionals are worried about their mental health and more than a fifth of engineers have had to take time off work due to stress.
But it doesn’t have to be this way!
With a little forward planning by managers and leadership teams, employees can be pro-actively supported and helped to manage stressful workplace situations successfully.
Top causes of stress at work, both in-office and remote
The top causes of workplace stress for both in-office and remote employees can be broken down into four categories:
Heavy work demand
This includes long hours, crunch periods, and excessive overtime. When employees feel overwhelmed by the level of work they are being asked to complete, stress levels rise.
Lack of engagement and communication
When employees do not feel engaged with their colleagues, or the work they are being asked to complete, they can begin to feel isolated and that their opinion is disregarded.
Lack of autonomy
No one likes to feel as though someone is looking over their shoulder, especially when working remotely. If employees do not feel trusted to complete work at their own pace and are assigned unreasonable deadlines, they can feel overly pressured.
When changes to management or role responsibilities are implemented without due communication to employees, they can – rightly – feel insecure and underappreciated.
So, what practical measures can employers undertake to tackle these four types of stressors?
How can employers reduce stress in the workplace?
Here are five creative ways employers can work to reduce the causes of stress in the workplace, both in-person and remotely:
Change your culture
STEM is a field that falls foul of ‘crunch culture’, a cycle of heavy workloads, deadlines and overtime that repeats every few months and is a guarantee of stress and burnout amongst team members. You might think that there is no way to change this status quo – there will always be project deadlines – but there are cultural changes you can make that will make it easier for your employees to handle the crunch time:
Give plenty of notice that project deadlines are coming up
Offer paid overtime or if that isn’t possible time in lieu
Give employees the opportunity to have input on project progression
If your team are prepared, rewarded, and engaged in the process, they will feel happier about working harder in times of stress.
Utilise workstream management techniques
Workload management is an often-underappreciated skill for leaders and employers alike. Mangers can work to understand their team’s capacity and current workload, break large, complex tasks down into smaller workstreams, prioritise work based on urgency and importance and take time to establish each individual team members’ bandwidth to reduce workload pressure.
Employers can also implement workload and time management training for individuals to help employees better prioritise their work.
Empower HR to provide support
When it comes to stress management in the workplace, much of the preparation and support will come from HR departments. Reviewing policies, enacting health and safety measures, listening to employee concerns to discover primary stressors and implementing wellness programmes are all practical actions that can be undertaken by HR to reduce employee stress and increase wellbeing.
Model change from the top down
Collaboration, encouraging accountability for unhealthy behaviours and asking for help are all things that leaders can model for their employees. Communication here is also key. Be prepared to talk with your employees about workplace stress and be prepared to listen to their responses and act on their concerns.
Only when all levels of an organisation commit to change can a healthy, supportive environment begin to develop.
Use tech to support workplace wellbeing
New apps and tools are rapidly being developed that can help employees connect with one another, organise their workloads, collaborate from any location and even allow HR to monitor stressors and stress levels in real time.
However, it is important to be mindful when introducing new levels of technology into the office. While these tools can be helpful, they can also place undue pressure on employees to be in contact outside office hours and to always be switched on to work to the detriment of downtime.
IntaPeople can help you provide a more support team environment
If you’re looking for more tips and insights on how to reduce workplace stress for your remote and in-office employees, get in touch! At IntaPeople our recruitment consultants can assist you with your recruitment needs and find you the talent you need – either in person or remotely – to drive success in the future of your organisation.