There’s no such thing as a stress-free job. However, excessive workplace stress negatively impacts your employees’ health and performance. To prevent your team from burning out, your company must create an environment that prioritizes well-being over hustle culture. While this may sound counterintuitive, creating a comfortable workplace can help your team become happier and more productive.
Curious why reducing stress in the workplace makes employees work more efficiently? Outlined below are six reasons a relaxed workplace leads to higher productivity.
1. Increased Psychological Safety
If your team members feel like they’re walking on eggshells or express deep fears of failure, they likely have low psychological safety. Psychological safety refers to the belief that you can express thoughts, take risks, and make mistakes without being punished or humiliated. A work environment with no psychological safety increases stress and discourages creativity. In contrast, a psychologically safe workplace makes employees feel more engaged in work and freer to share ideas, thus boosting productivity and innovation.
To encourage psychological safety in your organization, you need to establish a culture of respect. Employees won’t always see eye to eye on things like project management, new initiatives, or how to handle client issues. But it’s important that everyone talk to one another with kindness and understanding.
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2. Higher Job Satisfaction
Even the most exciting positions are hard to enjoy if you’re overworked and constantly stressed. Hustle culture glorifies the never-ending grind, creating an environment that encourages business over happiness. This reduces employee job satisfaction, tanking productivity. On the flip side, minimizing stress and encouraging a healthy work-life balance increases job satisfaction. This can lead to a 13% uptick in your team’s productivity.
So how do you get your team to step away from their laptops and take a break? Encouraging the use of paid time off is a great place to start. Many companies offer extensive PTO plans with the best of intentions, only for their employees to avoid taking a break. Leading by example and taking a couple weeks off a year lets your team know company leadership prioritizes life outside of work. This may encourage them to do the same.
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3. Improved Physical Health
Stress doesn’t just harm your employee’s mental health; it also takes a significant toll on their physical well-being. Workplace stress increases your team’s risk for cardiovascular issues, diabetes, gastrointestinal disorders, and chronic pain. Dealing with health conditions increases workplace absenteeism, reducing overall productivity. However, employers who take steps to lower employee stress and provide wellness incentives can improve employee health — and productivity along with it.
Offering employees opportunities to take breaks throughout the day is a great way to decrease stress and improve their health. Scheduling an afternoon team walk or in-office yoga class encourages your team to step away from work and take care of their health.
4. Lower Turnover
One rough day at the office won’t likely cause an employee to quit their job. However, chronic workplace stress can significantly increase employee turnover. Research conducted during the Great Resignation found that 40% of employees left their jobs due to burnout. Burnout is a form of mental and physical exhaustion caused by prolonged periods of stress. Symptoms include feelings of tiredness, lack of excitement, and an inability to concentrate.
Educating managers about burnout is one of the best ways to create an organization that prioritizes employee well-being. Help managers identify stressors that are applicable to their department and encourage them to talk about them with their team. Creating a safe space to discuss workplace stress makes it easier for employees to ask for assistance when they feel overwhelmed.
5. Stronger Company Culture
Work-related stress doesn’t just impact individuals. It can change company culture as a whole. When employees work in an environment dictated by fear, they’re less likely to address uncomfortable issues with their teammates or manager. This can reduce the quality of work, inhibit innovation, and sap an organization’s productivity. When leadership creates a culture that encourages and rewards feedback, though, they reduce stress and enhance employee relationships.
By creating stronger employee relationships, companies can improve internal communication and increase productivity. But with more people working remotely, it can be challenging to know how to develop bonds. Creating Slack channels dedicated to non-work-related topics like hobbies or events can help remote co-workers find commonalities. Bonding over dog photos or Marvel movies may seem like a silly use of resources, but it does wonders to promote a stronger culture.
6. Heightened Engagement
When employees feel engaged in their role, they’re motivated to work harder and produce higher-quality work. But extreme stress can make it challenging for workers to feel connected to your organization. By decreasing stress, you can increase employee engagement, improving the quality and quantity of work.
Companies can promote employee engagement by ensuring each employee is motivated to perform their role. This means human resources should pay special attention to matching team members with positions that utilize their strengths. It’s also important to provide employees access to continuing education and career development opportunities.
You can’t eliminate all workplace stress. But you can make sure employees aren’t overworked and burned out. Doing so can lead to a happier, more productive team.