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Five ways workplaces can help employees manage stress

Workplace stress is unavoidable but prolonged exposure to stress in the workplace, especially for professionals who work in demanding and high-stress industries, can take a toll on employees. This may lead to burnout, which can affect the productivity of both the employee and company.

To prevent their workers from burning out, employers may wish to consider developing an environment that helps their employees cope with stress.

Wellness Daily recommends five easy stress management strategies that companies and managers can employ.

1. Set clear and realistic goals

Setting a big company goal is important in any company, but it's also important for management to determine whether a goal is too big or unrealistic. 

Setting the bar too high can cause unnecessary stress for employees because of increased demand on their time and resources. Demanding employees to reach unreachable goals in a short span of time can expose them to prolonged chronic stress that may lead to burnout.

Instead of requiring employees to achieve big company goals, consider breaking down big goals into smaller milestones. It's also best to explain each milestone clearly and how each employee's role and tasks fit into the plan so that employees can have a roadmap and time table they could work with.

2. Encourage physical activity

Companies should also consider encouraging their employees to move around, especially when work requires them to sit in front of their desks for hours.

Prolonged inactivity may be understandable when companies and employees are in the middle of a big project, however, employees need to take a break and move their bodies even for a few minutes. Simple physical activities like stretching or walking can help employees reduce fatigue and stress levels and increase focus.

3. Promote mindfulness

Mindfulness exercises can lower workplace stress by helping employees focus on the present situation and deal with controllable things instead of ruminating on the past or making assumptions about the future.

Instead of dwelling on past failures or future tasks, it's also good for managers to keep their employees focused on the current tasks and issues to be resolved. Though it's important to find solutions to past problems and prepare for the future, this may be done during a meeting set specifically for problem resolution and planning purposes.

Mindfulness exercises can also help promote resilience and this would help equip employees with the skills to manage stress better.

4. Encourage employees to take vacations

By allowing their employees to take a break from work and go on vacations, employers encourage their employees to recharge and relieve workplace stress.

Unless there are big issues related to the vacationing employee's role and tasks, it's best to encourage employees to stay disconnected from work communications for the whole duration of their vacation. Maintaining open communication would do little to ease the stress and tension an employee feels from their workplaces.

Vacations would also allow employees to connect with their family and friends better and create a good support network outside of work.

5. Delegate tasks appropriately

Properly delegating tasks is important in the proper flow of work, but it's also a key factor in connection with the previous suggestion.

Some employees cannot disconnect from their work emails and other communications entirely because their tasks are not delegated properly—which means that there's no alternative process for their work. This may render their vacation useless because their stress levels would remain the same despite being on vacation.

Delegating tasks appropriately not only allows employees to disconnect and focus on relieving their stress, but it also ensures that the company remains productive regardless of who takes a vacation.

The suggestions above are only five of the numerous ways employers can support their employees to relieve workplace stress because different employees need different types of support. For a more targeted stress management solution, employers may also consider discussing strategies with their employees to determine what works for them.

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“Kindness is the language that the deaf can hear and the blind can see.” – Mark Twain