October 6, 2023

Reducing workplace stress: 7 strategies for leaders who are all about action

Modern work culture can feel relentless. To ease the day-to-day stress, leaders must move from awareness to action.

About 92% of workers have or have had mental health challenges, which impacted their work, according to a Workable study. The main workplace stressor was a lack of work-life balance.

Leaders cannot expect employees to thrive in turbulence. Team members are struggling to keep up with increased workloads, layoffs, inflation, and family commitments while trying to maintain some sort of identity outside of work through hobbies and social activities.

The key to creating a true culture of well-being is for companies to put together an action plan to reduce workplace stress and reengage employees. Our team listed several effective measures leaders can adopt to create a culture that embraces balance, support, and professional growth.

Assess team member responsibilities to prevent burnout

Leaders should identify and address workload imbalances to ensure employees are not overwhelmed with excessive tasks. Effective delegation, prioritization, and workload management are key to maintaining a healthy work environment.

This also includes promoting reasonable work hours, discouraging excessive overtime, and respecting employees' personal time.

Provide mental health day policies and wellness weeks

The purpose of mental health day policies and wellness weeks is to establish a mandatory time off policy. Workers often feel guilty for using PTO out of fear that work will pile up while they’re away or they’ll need to save this time off for later on in the year. These initiatives enable team members to recharge, engage in hobbies, and spend quality time with loved ones outside of work.

Offer coaching and mentoring programs

Career coaches and mentors can provide workers with a support lifeline by helping address the underlying causes of stress. They can also collaborate with employees to outline their career goals and create a skill development plan that adheres to their work-life boundaries.

By fostering a positive learning environment, leaders empower their teams to build confidence, while assuring them the company is committed to long-term growth.

Explore family leave opportunities

Leaders can recognize the importance of family responsibilities by providing employees with the flexibility and time to attend to family matters. These policies can include parental leave, adoption leave, caregiver leave, and flexible scheduling. A good example of a family leave policy is one that provides comprehensive support, job security, and benefits continuation for employees during important life events.

Create an Employee Assistance Program

Employee Assistance Programs are comprehensive support systems that provide counseling, resources, and services to employees facing personal or work-related challenges. These programs address a wide range of issues, including mental health concerns, substance abuse, financial difficulties, and relationship problems.

By offering EAPs, leaders can create a safe and supportive environment, ensuring that employees have access to professional help and guidance when needed.

Build a mental health affinity group

The purpose of an affinity group is to provide employees who share common identities or experiences with a community of support and advocacy. These groups foster a sense of belonging, reduce stigma, and provide opportunities for individuals to share experiences, coping mechanisms, and mental health resources.

Normalize the conversation on mental health

By sharing personal experiences, providing education and resources, and encouraging open dialogue, leaders create an environment where mental health concerns are treated with empathy and understanding.

Related: How leaders can encourage mental health discussions

Normalizing the conversation on mental health promotes a culture of support and encourages employees to seek help when needed.

Learn more about building a culture of well-being

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