5 Ways to Reduce Stress In Your Workplace
Stress can be a killer. We all deal with it, but some people handle stressful situations better than others. Doing your best to eliminate stress in as many areas of your life as possible—family, home, friends, work—is important. Reducing stress has numerous benefits, and implementing the five steps below will help you create a low-stress work environment.
- Place a personal photo, piece of artwork, or other visually pleasing item in your workspace. It’s amazing how effective a smile can be in reducing stress. Even if you’re not permitted to display personal items, look at a photo on your phone or in your wallet during your break and smile. Smile at your coworkers too; dragging a little black cloud around with you doesn’t help anyone, and a smile fosters a lighthearted, positive work environment. If you’re good with jokes, tell an appropriate one from time to time, or pass around a cartoon or funny memo. These may be the things that help your colleagues shake off stress and perform at the top of their game.
- Get up from your desk every 60-90 minutes to stretch, walk around, and rest your eyes. Focusing on something other than the computer screen a few times a day helps you stay calm and feel less stressed. Plus, moving around may provide exactly the source of inspiration you need to resolve an issue or tackle a challenge from a fresh perspective. Moving around also keeps your mind sharp and your attention focused.
- Reach out for support when needed. Teamwork can move mountains, so rather than stubbornly deciding that “To get a job done right, do it yourself,” consider enlisting the expertise of those around you. Brainstorm, network, and gather a variety of different perspectives to arrive at the best solution. Also let your colleagues know that you’re available to return the favor whenever they need you, and stay true to your word.
- Don’t be the Lone Ranger. Whenever feasible, don’t hesitate to delegate. No one is an expert at every aspect of every project. Particularly if you’re in a supervisory role, make sure you delegate appropriately to achieve the best results. Holding a weekly or monthly staff meeting helps you familiarize yourself with each person’s strengths, passions, and expertise. Give employees permission to share their ideas with you. A suggestion box is good, especially if you feel keeping things anonymous works best for your department. But having an open-door policy and being available for discussions, progress reports, and brainstorming also curtails misunderstandings and is a great stress-buster for everyone on your team.
- Establish a reward program. Everyone likes to be acknowledged for a job well done. Even if your workplace doesn’t have a structured motivational component, start one among the ranks! Notice your colleagues’ strengths and compliment them whenever possible. This keeps up morale and creates a strong, mutually supportive work environment, which, in turn, reduces stress, resentment, and jealousy.
In short, do everything within your power to help yourself and others lighten up while staying focused on the job at hand.
This reduces stress and increases productivity!
Erica L. Fener, Ph.D., is Vice President, Strategic Growth at Progressus Therapy (http://www.progressustherapy.com/), a leading provider of school-based therapy and early intervention services.