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Stress and anxiety in the workplace: strategies for the manager


Mental wellbeing

Stress and anxiety have a useful role in our everyday life. Stress, for example, helps us to acclimate with changes. Anxiety on the other hand assists in detecting threats. They become a problem when the tension lingers and starts to affect our daily lives.

In this article, we look at how to cope with stress and anxiety in the workplace from the point of view of the manager. See here to read about employee point of view.

Managers role in reducing stress and anxiety

Managers sometimes have a bit more room in creating a healthy working environment than employees. If not throughout the whole organisation, then at least in the team they are supervising.

Listen to employees and take their needs into consideration

As a manager, try to build a working culture with your own behaviour that includes your staff members’ requirements. Try to foster a safe space where sharing one’s worries is accepted.

“Employees have to have the opportunity to express themselves in a safe environment. They have to have the right to tell the supervisor that at that moment they aren’t able to continue, they need a change of pace, longer deadlines, etc.,” insists Harro.

If communication is fragmented, it creates an information deficiency and uncertainty on a personal level on employee’s specific tasks, as well as across the organisation. Employees need clarity on what they have to do, and why.

Express your requirements as a manager

Expressing needs should be done as a dialogue. The safe communication environment shouldn’t be created only keeping in mind the employees, but also the managers. This enables the staff to understand what is needed from them. The company culture is strongly influenced also by how honestly and straightforwardly a supervisor can express themselves.

Accept that changes always create tension

Work environments are always affected by changes that constantly create the need to readjust. The consequence of this is placing stress onto our body, whatever the underlying change. We adjust with daylight saving time, daily temperature fluctuations and other things. These are natural biological-physiological matters that we need to deal with.

In a work environment, changes can be having a new staff member, when we need to change something in our tasks, or anything else that forces us to do even the most minute adjustments in our actions and habits.

Changes can be positive, for example, when the company is gaining success and suddenly the staff needs to cope with more work. Even this shatters the stability and security of what has been and forces adjustments.

Knowledge the importance of workplace culture

Previous examples are all things that create tension in the organisation. Many of those things we don’t have any control over, whether we be a manager or an employee. The more the creators of workplace culture – whoever they may be – are aware of the influence, the more we can improve through dialogue.

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