In these uncertain times, it’s easy to fall into a slump at the workplace. With the pressure mounting on businesses to perform at high levels, maybe with smaller workforces, fewer hours, or higher service/production requirements, it can sometimes feel as though for every job completed, there are three more behind it and they’re all overdue.
Understandably, this has a direct effect on staff morale; the more stressed the office is, the lower the productivity will become. In the worst-case scenario, employees may become ill or require time off to recover if things become too much.
As a manager (team, department or general!) it is important to make sure this doesn’t happen, from a business standpoint, but much more importantly for the wellbeing of the employees. When stress begins to mount up, there are many things that can be done to alleviate the tension.
During particularly busy periods in the office, some workers may not feel that they can take an adequate break from their desk due to their workload. Obviously, this isn’t good for the employees, the managers, or the work quality itself. Without sufficient time away from desks and workloads, stress and tension in the working environment can build up rapidly.
One method to keep this at bay is to encourage staff to participate in games or events hosted in the workplace. For example, you might want to think about having an office chess tournament, playing cards, or even just getting a group together to go for a short walk at midday. It doesn’t sound like much but having that break away from your task list really can make a difference, it can bring people together from different departments, and everyone can take time to get a bit of breathing space when work begins to become overbearing.
Having the Right Tools
Have you ever tried to boil a pot of water with a candle? No? I can’t say as I blame you, because it would be highly inefficient, there are a lot of better ways to boil water, and it would take a really long time. Having the wrong tools for the job is not only a huge pain to deal with, but also increasingly stressful the more it has to be used.
Let’s take software, for example. There are billions of different types of software out in the world, however, only a tiny fraction of them will be useful for your needs and selecting the right one is highly important. You wouldn’t use Paint to design a website, nor would you use Notepad to record a client database, so why stay stuck behind? Modern software implementations are getting easier and more straightforward all the time; even finance and accountancy software such as Sage has become cloud-based, making usability easier, less stressful, and overall, a better experience for users, employers, and employees alike.
When you’ve put a lot of work into a project, spent days, weeks, or even months collaborating with the team, gathering information, putting a plan in place, working through it stage-by-stage, completing all tasks ahead of you, and you can finally call it complete, a little bit of acknowledgement shouldn’t be too much to ask for. Going through all of that effort to simply be brushed off or ignored can be hugely demoralising, and in some case, have cost businesses some of their most valued employees.
Obviously, a big song and dance doesn’t need to be made after every task has been completed but showing appreciation for your staff working hard through difficult workloads will resonate well: bringing in doughnuts for the office, ordering lunch for the team, or even something small like an email group. While these don’t take much effort, if it’s shown that the hard work has been noted and appreciated, then office morale shouldn’t be as negatively impacted while workloads are high.
Keeping employees motivated during difficult times shouldn’t have to be impactful on the business and working hour requirements, especially when working from home. Make sure your teams get their rest, their hard work is recognised, and they are encouraged to come forward to a manager or their team leader if they are stressed or feeling overworked. A happy, motivated office is a productive one!