In this article, we look at 5 simple ways to prevent stress and anxiety in the office from the point of view of the manager. You can also read our tips for the employee.
Humans are designed quite efficiently. Few functions or features are superfluous. Even stress is an emotion that serves a purpose: detecting threats and sensing danger or change, vital skills in a cavemen (and women) world. To be fair those skills are still very valuable today. The problem is that we haven’t evolved as fast as our society has progressed and we are unable to adapt our stress reaction to the different kinds of stress we are faced with today: from being late for work, having to speak in front of a crowd (unpleasant but not life-threatening) to avoid being hit by a car.
That inability to make sense of what is survival and what is actually bringing us down is the real problem in today’s society and workplace. One of the manager’s tasks, which can sometimes be overlooked, is to create a good and healthy working environment for the team. This can be done through:
Feeling heard and listened to, and having a space to voice opinions, hopes and concerns can be a real game changer in a team. As a manager, it is essential to build a working culture within which everyone feels safe to share and speak up. These forums, whether they are off or online, or both, need to be clearly identified and easy to use for all.
It is not enough to allow people to speak their minds. As a manager, it is important to acknowledge those thoughts and concerns. To address them. To find solutions when possible and when not, to explain why. Employees need clarity on what is happening to them, what they do, and why.
The communication should be a dialogue. It is essential that the manager express their ideas and expectations clearly so that everyone is on the same page: what is a rule and what is a guideline, what can be challenged and what cannot. In addition, regular face to face check-ins and feedback sessions ahead of big deadlines foster a continuous and healthy communication loop.
Be your employee’s best supporter. Celebrate them, give them attention and thank them for their work. Encourage them to do the same towards each other.
One of the best ways to prevent stress and anxiety at the office is to be transparent. Accept that change is constant and not everyone will react the same way to your management style. Accept that we are constantly learning: from past mistakes, from each other. It is ok not to have all the answers and to admit it to your team. It will bring you closer together to find solutions as a group!