Stress in the workplace is one of the top reasons for employee dissatisfaction and subsequent drop in productivity. If you are an employer managing a team of workers, it is absolutely vital that you take steps to ensure that your workers are in a supportive and harmonious environment with as few stressors as possible. This article takes a look at some of the steps you can implement for the purpose of a stress-free workplace.
Assigning an employee a task for which he or she does not feel qualified and which lies outside the requirements of his or her job description is an easy way to create a very unhappy worker. Keep in mind that employees will often assent to tasks for which they do not feel qualified, purely as a matter of the subordinate role in which they find themselves.
Thus, you cannot take their positive assurances as a sign that they are happy about what you have assigned them. If possible, announce the task in some kind of group-directed way, asking for interested persons to respond to you as soon as possible. This way, you can be sure that you are getting a genuine interest in your proposal.
The same can be said for weekend work. It can be quite obnoxious for an employer to speak directly to an employee, asking whether he or she is interested in working on the coming weekend. Many employees lack the assertiveness to turn your offer down. You may feel that bonus pay rates are the perfect incentive for an employee to do grunt work on a weekend, but the truth is that many employees would rather stay at home with family and rejuvenate, double pay be damned. You are violating sacred territory when you impose yourself on the weekends of your employees. Instead, send out a group announcement asking for interested persons to respond to you as soon as possible. This way, you can be sure that you are not putting your boot in the behind of employee morale, which would only cost you in terms of lost productivity in the end.
Employee stress can be caused not only by assigning tasks for which an employee feels unqualified but also by assigning tasks for which an employee feels overqualified. Although the nature of your work environment may not leave you much room in this regard, it is important that you find ways to tap into as many employee talents as possible. People work optimally when they feel that their skills are being put to use and challenged sufficiently.
Eliminate as much vagueness as possible when it comes to employee duties. Providing fuzzy requirements that leave your employees trying to decipher what you want to be done is a sure way to turn yourself into the scatterbrained boss from hell. Have you seen the boss in the Dilbert comics? Do not be that boss!
Allow employees to give their input regarding workplace decisions and changes. Although your ideas for process improvement may look wonderful on a flowchart, and although you may feel like a rock star in the eyes of your employees ever since you became a Six Sigma black belt, do not delude yourself into thinking that you know what is best for your troops on the front lines.
It is extremely important that your employees have the chance to earn promotions and progress up the ladder of command. Neglect this principle at your own peril.
If you are in an office environment, allow your employees to listen to music while they work and to surf the Net and chat among themselves when there is no work to be done. It is counterproductive to subject your employees to senseless, illogical restrictions on what they can and cannot do. Do not go on power trips.
Last but not least, make your workplace free from discrimination and sexual harassment. If you have not caught on by now to the importance of doing so, then you have much to learn, grasshopper.