Benefits

7 Tips for Managers to Help Employees De-Stress

By Amanda Gee

Aug. 1, 2019

In companies both large and small, workers can be heard talking about how they need a break or how they need to have a mental health day.

According to a 2017 report from the American Psychological Association, work stress is the third most common stressor in Americans’ lives. What’s contributing most to that work stress, according to a 2017 Paychex study, is missing out on time spent at home.

Employees are stressed for a multitude of reasons including workload, lack of support, lack of control in decision-making processes, unclear performance expectations, ineffective time management skills, and failure to implement boundaries on time away from work and use vacation time granted to them.

There are many ways managers can help employees cope with such stresses, though. Here are seven tips to get them started:

Look and Listen. As a manager it is important to pay attention to your employees. When you observe your employees in action, do they appear to be overwhelmed? Are they agitated when speaking with you? Do they express concern or anxiety over a project or deadline? What words are they using to describe their workload? Has their demeanor changed?

If you notice that an employee’s mood has changed and he or she appears more stressed than usual, it’s time to initiate a conversation on how you can help.

Provide Clarity. Managers have a broad view of the department’s productivity and goals, as well as what each employee is working on at any given time. Managers can plan projects and set appropriate deadlines for work.

Keep in mind that employees may need guidance on reassessing to-do lists and understanding priorities, direction on how the work is to be completed, and what assistance is available to get work done. Don’t be afraid to get in the trenches with your employees and work side-by-side to complete an important task.

Foster Partnership. Personality conflicts can be a contributor to stress, and managers play a significant role in fostering teamwork and mediating disputes. It is critical that managers address conflicts both timely and effectively to avoid escalation. HR can provide tools and guidance on how to properly investigate, document, and coach employees to resolve their discord.

Acknowledge Humanity. Employees are people. They have responsibilities and stressors outside of their work. It is critical for employees to recharge after the workday and workweek.

Enable employees to have a healthy work-life balance by providing them the opportunity to connect with family and friends and to rest and take care of themselves. Managers should encourage employees to limit checking emails after business hours and to take earned vacation time. Supervisors should also be trained in managing employee leaves of absence, knowing what leaves employees are entitled and supporting employees to take leaves to care for themselves or family members.

Encourage Exercise. Urge employees to take their breaks, stretch and move around for a few minutes several times a day. A change of scenery can help employees gain a fresh perspective on the task at hand and clear their minds for more creative thinking. Physical activity can aid in alleviating tension and increasing blood flow. Even better, have employees take a break together to foster teambuilding and comradery.

Also read: Consider Fresh Air and Relaxed Hikes to Combat Work Stress

Provide Training. Empower your employees with access to resources that enable resiliency. Employees themselves can be trained on stress management, time management and conflict resolution to hopefully minimize the incidence of anxiety and depression.

Promote Benefits. Managers should be the raving fans of the company’s benefits programs, especially those related to mental and physical well-being.

An employee assistance program is a useful tool for employees experiencing stress or needing to cope with difficult situations. Managers are not professional counselors and should not act as such.

Additionally, ensure that the medical plans provided to employees include access to outpatient and inpatient mental health treatment, medication and counseling. Many medical insurance companies are now offering teledoctors for individuals who have difficulty seeing a physician face-to-face, as well as perks and discounts to gyms and fitness-related services that employees may not be aware of.

Also read: Work Stress and the ADA

Financial difficulties can also lead to employee stress. Providing employees with financial wellness benefits can help them gain control over their financial well-being. It is also important to share these resources throughout the year – not just during open enrollment.

Work is stressful for many people. Managers are in a unique position to help mitigate that stress, coaching and helping employees deal with and avoid many stressful situations. Knowing how and when to help employees navigate stressful relationships and projects is a critical component of managers’ role in helping to foster a productive and engaged workforce.

Amanda Gee is an HR coach at Paychex. She has over 15 years of human resources experience.

What’s New at Workforce.com?

blog workforce

We’re on a mission to automate workforce management for hourly employees and bring productivity, optimization and engagement to the frontline. Come see what we’re building in the world of predictive employee scheduling, superior labor insights and next-gen employee apps.

Book a call
See the software
workforce news

Related Articles

workforce blog

Benefits

What is Earned Wage Access (EWA)? A Few Considerations

Summary Earned wage access (EWA) programs are an increasingly popular way for employees to access their...

benefits, earned wage access products, payroll, time and attendance

workforce blog

Benefits

EEOC says that employers legally can offer incentives to employees to get vaccinated in almost all instances

If you’re an employer looking to get as many of your employees vaccinated as possible, you can rest eas...

ADA, CDC, COVID-19, EEOC, GINA, pandemic, vaccinated

workforce blog

Benefits

Fixing some common misconceptions about HIPAA

Ever since the CDC amended its COVID-19 guidance to say that the fully vaccinated no longer need to wea...

COVID-19, health care, HIPAA, human resources, wellness