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10 Ways That Managers Can Help Overworked Employees Reduce Stress

June 1, 1993
Related Topics: Work/Life Balance, Featured Article
Here are ten ways managers can help:

  1. Allow employees to talk freely with one another. In an organization in which employees can talk freely with each other, productivity and problem-solving usually are enhanced.

  2. Reduce personal conflicts on the job. Here are three steps that employers can take to minimize conflicts: a) training managers and employees to resolve conflicts through communication, negotiation and respect; b) treating employees fairly; and c) defining job expectations clearly.

  3. Give employees adequate control over how they do their work. Workers are more productive and able to deal with stress better if they have some control over and flexibility in how they perform their work.

  4. Ensure that staffing and expense budgets are adequate. Heavier workloads can increase illness, turnover and accidents and decrease productivity. Therefore, a new project may not be worth taking on if staffing and funding are inadequate.

  5. Talk openly with employees. Management should keep employees informed about bad news as well as good news. Giving employees opportunities to air their concerns to management also is important.

  6. Support employees' efforts. Workers are better able to cope with heavy workloads if management is sympathetic, understanding and encouraging. Listening to employees and addressing their issues also is helpful.

  7. Provide competitive personal leave and vacation benefits. Workers who have time to relax and recharge after working hard are less likely to develop stress-related illnesses.

  8. Maintain current levels of employee benefits. Workers' stress levels increase when they see reductions made in their employee benefits. Employers must weigh carefully the savings gained from reducing benefits with the potentially high costs of employee burnout.

  9. Reduce the amount of red tape for employees. Employers can lower burnout rates if they ensure that employees' time isn't wasted on unnecessary paperwork and procedures.

  10. Recognize and reward employees for their accomplishments and contributions. Ignoring employees' accomplishments can lower morale and provoke talented and experienced employees to seek work elsewhere.

SOURCE: Northwestern National Life

Personnel Journal, June 1993, Vol. 72, No. 6, p. 57.

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