Did you know that your overall sense of well-being affects those around you? This includes your family as well as those working with you. As a leader, it’s imperative to help your team manage the stress and anxieties they may feel about the workplace.
These days, work is incredibly more stressful as a result of a world that doesn’t ever truly turn off. Because of these pressures, it’s often difficult for employees to remain engaged and productive.
It’s important to zero in on creating an environment which will foster employees’ personal growth and development. This will make them feel supported and help them overcome feelings of stress, anxiety, and burnout.
According to Rich Fernandez, co-founder of Wisdom Labs and a previous director of executive development at Google, “Investing in employee personal growth and development from this perspective is the first step in unleashing creativity, enabling potential, and supporting sustainable productivity.” Who wouldn’t want that?
In an article Fernandez wrote for the Harvard Business Review, he discusses several ways to give your employees with the support they need to thrive in a stressful world.
Help Your Team Manage Stress, Anxiety, and Burnout
It can be tough enough to manage your own stress. Although it’s unlikely that the pace or intensity of work will change much anytime soon, there’s a growing body of research that suggests certain types of development activities can effectively build the capacity for resilience. When I was working at Google as the director of executive development, for example, we focused on helping managers create the “happiest, healthiest, and most productive workforce on the planet.” Investing in employee personal growth and development from this perspective is the first step in unleashing creativity, enabling potential, and supporting sustainable productivity. Read more…
How to Help Your Team Handle Stress
Below is a summary of Fernandez’s suggestions:
Model and encourage well-being practices.
We’ve all heard that stress is contagious. Fortunately, the same can be true about feelings of well-being. Make time for activities that promote growth such as personal development sessions and wellness activities. Additionally, requiring employees to schedule certain amounts of “buffer” time into their calendars is a great way to allow for flexibility and increased quality of work.
Allow time for disconnect outside of work.
In this day and age employees often have a difficult time disconnecting from work. “Always on, multitasking work environments are killing productivity, dampening creativity, and making us unhappy,” Fernandez quoted from the McKinsey Quarterly. Be both purposeful and explicit about appropriate times to engage in work related tasks.
Train the brain to deal with chaos.
Practicing mindfulness can benefit your employees in many ways. Fernandez suggests using apps such as Calm, Headspace and Muse. Not only does mindfulness help promote resilience and productivity in the workplace, but your team will also collaborate more efficiently, handle stress in a more productive way and sustain higher standards of performance.
Emphasize “monotasking” for better focus.
Contrary to popular belief, we are more efficient when we’re not multitasking. Surprisingly doing so can double both the time and amount of mistakes made. Help your employees prioritize their time to allow for monotasking as it will increase the quality and value of their work.
Be purposeful about “gap” time during the workday or slow periods over the course of the working year.
At some point, we all need to pause, recharge and refocus. If we deny ourselves or our employees of this time, we risk falling into a state of “continuous partial attention” where we produce low-quality output. If there’s not down time, you have the ability to create some. Fernandez says to ask yourself: “What can I do to help this person design his schedule so that when he’s working, he’s really working?”
Exercise empathy and compassion.
The simple act of being kind is “good for people and business.” Practicing these skills will enhance employee engagement and performance let employees know they are in a supportive environment which fosters growth and success.