This is the third article of our 3-part series for National Stress Awareness Week 2021.
With National Stress Awareness Week coming to a close on November 5th, we wanted to share some tips for reducing team stress.
We’ve written lots of articles on how people can manage stress:
- Stress Management in HR: Tips for HR Leaders
- Stress Management Tools and Techniques
- 12 Best Workplace Stress Relief Techniques
- The Best Stress Management Techniques From Around the World
In case you couldn’t tell, we are big fans of stress management!
Join us as we walk you through how teams can help reduce each other’s stress so they can work happier and more effectively.
Common Causes of Team Stress
94% of American workers experienced stress at work in 2019. Nearly every company has an opportunity to address team stress.
Some causes of team stress include:
- Heavy workload and poor work-life balance
- Lack of transparency and trust
- Unrealistic expectations
- Lack of morale and engagement
- Lack of understanding from coworkers and management
- Unclear goals
- Disconnected leaders
The following tips will help you overcome all 7 of these causes of team stress this National Stress Awareness Week.
5 Ways to Reduce Team Stress This National Stress Awareness Week
Addressing team stress can be stressful in itself! Just take it one step at a time. Work your way down this list, and see how stress is reduced among your team.
1. Set realistic expectations early—and be transparent about them
Having clear goals, deadlines, and performance expectations remove uncertainty. One of the leading causes of stress and anxiety is uncertainty. It is human nature to want to be in control and know what is expected of us.
For instance, one of the best things you can establish to improve overall employee wellbeing is to set expectations around working hours. If you only expect employees to work 8 hours per day, make that clear. If you only care about results, and not hours, tell them that!
Being transparent about expectations helps employees take their guard down and open up more, reducing stress and improving morale.
Create measurable goals with your employees so there is no question about priorities or when things need to get done.
Make sure to give positive feedback when employees are on the right track and don’t be afraid to tell employees if they aren’t meeting the mark. 82% of employees want more feedback—regardless of whether it is positive or negative.
To celebrate National Stress Awareness Week, try sending each of your direct reports a direct message or email with positive feedback. This small gesture can make a huge difference in someone’s day!
2. Agree on communication channels
Here are some communication-related questions to consider:
- Where will you hold team meetings (if at all)? How often?
- Will you communicate between meetings over Slack? Email? Video calls?
- What time is best for communication? Will there be any no-meeting or no-message hours or days?
- How will you assign tasks for one another, if needed?
Everyone has a different communication style and task management system. Establishing that Joe wants to be assigned tasks in Teamwork and Emily wants to be sent a Slack message can reduce team stress right off the bat.
Answering these questions will help you save time, increase efficiency, reduce confusion, and lower frustration.
Oh, and don’t forget about the power of agendas to improve meetings!
3. Establish that it’s okay to take breaks
A common cause of burnout is consistently powering through work, even when you need a break.
Taking breaks helps employees maintain better work-life balance, improve physical and mental health, improve creativity, and reduce stress.
You can communicate that it’s okay to take breaks best by setting the example yourself. If you are experiencing a lull in your work, take a short walk.
Try taking breaks as a group. Take time to get to know one another personally. This will help everyone feel more comfortable around another. Especially for us introverts, this can reduce stress.
Emphasizing output and results over the number of hours worked will help employees feel more comfortable taking breaks.
4. Focus on one thing at a time
Meditation is a powerful practice that can help employees develop this habit.
Meditate together as a group for 5 minutes. This sets the stage for a calm, stress-free meeting.
Multitasking reduces productivity in the long run. Taking things one step at a time, one task at a time, can reduce stress.
5. Create community
Connecting personally will help create a space where people feel comfortable talking about their mental health if they want to.
If employees feel comfortable going to their teammates about their stress, you are on the right track. Employees have an excellent opportunity to support one another.
One of the best ways to reduce stress and improve company culture is to create an environment where people feel supported.
This National Stress Awareness Week, try doing a fun activity with your team like getting lunch together, having coffee together over Zoom, or doing a guided meditation together.
Reducing Team Leader Stress
It is hard to serve others when you aren’t taking care of yourself!
Be kind to yourself. It’s okay not to be okay—and it’s okay not to be perfect. No one is!
List out some things that make you happy, and take the time to do those things consistently.
This article has some great self-care tips for you.
We hope these tips help you reduce team stress (and your stress) this National Stress Awareness Week.