Even before the pandemic, feeling stressed is not new to employees. They may be stressed due to their workload, strained relationships with coworkers or clients, and other things.
But the COVID-19 pandemic has introduced even more stressors. For example, in a survey by the American Psychological Association, they found that 70% of Americans are stressed due to the economy during the pandemic. Meanwhile, 67% reported that the government’s response to the pandemic makes them stressed.
Negative Impacts of Stress on Employees
Stress can have several effects on your employees. Work-related problems may arise because of it, such as lack of motivation, being unproductive, and non-attendance. Stress can also affect their health. Some people relieve stress through eating. This may lead to other problems like overweight or obesity. Or people trying to overcome their binge-eating disorder might relapse.
Thus, you must support your employees in coping with stress to improve their health. Of course, this effort will also benefit the company in productivity and better work performance from employees. Here are some strategies you can use:
Have Regular Check-ins With Employees
The first thing you can do to help your employees manage their stress is by checking in on them. You can open the conversation lightly first, such as recognizing their hard work since your last check-in. Then, ask them how they’re doing and if they’re experiencing any issues with work. Talk about how you can work together to address these issues that make them stressed.
But some employees might find opening up to their managers difficult. In this case, you will need to be vulnerable. You can share your personal experience with them. This way, you can encourage them to open up with you as well.
Organize Virtual Events
The pandemic has been difficult for many people in terms of social interactions. Thus, organizing fun virtual events can help employees relieve stress, whether caused by work or personal matters. For instance, you can set up a Zoom call and play games, which has helped reduce stress. You can play trivia quizzes about pop culture, films, or other topics. You can also use a different platform to play.
Virtual inclusivity is also important to help employees feel less stressed about work. During check-ins and virtual events, notice if people feel left out and find out why. Then make the necessary changes so that these people can feel more welcome during virtual activities. For instance, someone may unintentionally be racist towards someone. You’ll have to talk to the employee who made a racist remark and explain to them why what they did was wrong.
Or say someone is unable to respond as quickly as the others during a Zoom call. This issue may have several causes, such as a slow internet connection or faulty device. To accommodate this need, you might consider calling the employee so that you can relay their message to the others. Or you might tell them to use the chat feature in Zoom to share what they want to say.
Share Self-care Tips
Understandably, not everyone is willing to talk about stressors with their bosses or even with coworkers. Asking them repeatedly might make them more uncomfortable and more stressed. Thus, you can share self-care tips. You can do this by sending an email to your team every week. Or you can give tips during Zoom meetings and ask others to share as well.
Through small actions, managers and company leaders will help their employees cope with stress during this challenging time.