While occasional workplace stress is normal, excessive stress can lead to burnout. This type of exhaustion results from constantly feeling overstretched. Employees suffering from burnout feel drained, leaving little energy or desire to complete daily tasks at work. As a result, your team will experience lower productivity, causing them to miss deadlines and quotas.
The good news is there are steps you can take as a manager to help reduce workplace stress and improve efficiency. Learn more about how you can stimulate your employee’s productivity below.
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1. Use a Project Management Tool
Often teams juggle multiple projects at a time. They balance communicating with customers, performing job tasks, and hitting targets. Since completing a project requires many moving parts, it’s easy for your employees to feel overwhelmed. This is where project management software can be useful. Project management software helps teams plan and keep track of a project’s progress in one location.
Outside of providing a platform to more efficiently plan projects, project management software comes with a myriad of other benefits. Since project status is available to everyone digitally, it’s easier for employees to curl up with a blanket and work from home. This may help prevent burnout in some individuals. Additionally, project management software helps improve team collaboration, thus reducing team friction that can lead to unnecessary stress.
2. Encourage Time Off
How much time off are your employees taking? If you answered “none,” you have a problem. When your employees don’t use their paid time off, they don’t give their body and mind a break from work. This can lead to workplace exhaustion, reduced performance, and burnout. This is why it’s important to encourage your employees to use their PTO.
One way managers can do this is by letting their team know they can take time off for “no reason.” Oftentimes, employees feel the need to justify using PTO for events like vacations or appointments. Make it clear to your team that they can use vacation days however they choose. For some, that might be a trip to Hawaii; for others, it may be a day at home watching Netflix. Either way, they’ll return to work refreshed and re-energized.
3. Cut Back on Meetings
While some meetings are necessary, many take up your team’s time unnecessarily and reduce productivity. Research shows that 70% of all meetings keep people from doing actual work. By using valuable working hours to host meetings, you’re taking time away from your employees they could be using to complete tasks. This may lead to some team members working overtime in an attempt to finish their work, causing increased stress.
Reduce stress and improve productivity by giving your team back their time. Try to hold meetings only when they are absolutely necessary. Examples of worthwhile meetings include performance reviews, brainstorming sessions, and project planning meetings that clarify goals and distribute work among team members. In cases where a meeting is needed, only invite employees to whom the topic pertains. The less relevant the meeting is to someone, the less engaged they’ll be.
4. Stop Micromanaging
Do you feel the need to control all aspects of a project? If so, you’re likely micromanaging your team. Micromanagement refers to a management style characterized by excessive supervision of employees. People with this management style often avoid giving decision-making power to team members and obsessively gather information. This can have a negative impact on team morale and productivity.
A survey on micromanagement showed that 71% of respondents felt being micromanaged hurt their job performance. To avoid this productivity killer, let go of perfectionism and start practicing delegation. As the manager, you know the strengths of each of your employees. Assign each team member tasks based on their strengths and empower them with the tools they need to do the job.
5. Foster Open Communication
Do you provide opportunities for your team to talk with you about challenges they’re facing? If not, it’s a good time to start. Organizations with productive employees prioritize open communication. This makes it easier for people to come to their managers with issues instead of letting them linger and create stress.
One strategy team leaders can implement to facilitate open communication is holding monthly one-on-one meetings. These meetings would fall under the “necessary meeting” category mentioned above. The objective of these conversations should be to provide employees with an opportunity to share their experiences in their roles. Any challenges they’re facing can be mentioned here, giving you the chance to help them troubleshoot the problem.
6. Provide Continuing Education
Even the hardest-working employees can struggle with performance due to a lack of knowledge. The world of work is constantly evolving, especially in digital and technical fields. Providing ongoing education helps keep employees up to speed and improves productivity.
One simple way to encourage learning in the workplace is by creating a company book club. Books selected each month should focus on topics that enable employees to develop in their roles. At the end of each month, host a team lunch where each employee can share what they learned.
Some workplace stress is unavoidable. But extreme stress can lead to an emotionally exhausted and unproductive team. Use the tips outlined above to reduce burnout and improve productivity.