“Stress” is a common problem in any discussion of employee well-being these days, and with good reason. Increased stress levels can lead to a number of health issues, both mental and physical, and can begin to affect job performance no matter what role your employees have.
While a lot of stress management begins at the employee level, there are still a lot of things employers can do to create a less stressful environment. And this goes beyond simply giving your employees a space to talk about their concerns (although that certainly helps) – there’s actually a lot of things you can do to the workplace itself to contribute to a less stressful, more productive atmosphere. In the spirit of our Mess = Stress wire shelving sale, check out some of these tips and see what you can do to keep your employees happy and productive:
Provide A Safe, Clean Environment: Especially in warehouses and retail areas, having a clean workplace can lead to a reduction of employee stress. Many studies have been done that link clutter in the home to increased stress levels and production of cortisol (a hormone released by the body during times of stress), and this can apply to a busy workplace as well. Particularly in areas of high traffic and/or product storage, make sure to keep plenty of industrial storage or wire shelving around to reduce clutter and give everything a designated area that’s easy for employees to find.
Provide Extra Facilities: Many workplaces these days offer areas above and beyond the typical breakroom and restroom in the office, and these have been shown to improve employee productivity and reduce stress. If your facility or warehouse allows it, consider installing a locker room, a shower area, and/or a recreation room/gymnasium to allow workers to blow off steam and get refreshed after a long shift. Even just providing a quiet area away from the bustle of the shop floor could help.
Allow Flexible Schedules: Not every business can accommodate this sort of schedule, but if your shift lineups allow for it you should consider a more flexible arrival and leaving time to help your workers manage their responsibilities outside of the office, responsibilities that can’t always be avoided. Consider allowing them to take a shorter lunch in order to leave earlier or arrive later, or provide swing shifts to accommodate for anything that your workers might have to get done outside of the office to help them balance their work and personal lives better, and reduce stress in general.
Encourage Teamwork: Even employees in the same department tend to not work together or get to know each other as well as they could. Encouraging teamwork and cooperation allows your workers to get to know each other, feel less isolated, and get things done more effectively than they could by themselves. Don’t push this too far – forced team-building or awkward interactions could actually reduce teamwork because it ‘got weird’ – but trying to encourage your workers to get to know one another is a great way to increase interaction and reduce stress.
Remember to Listen: It sounds simple, but you’d be shocked how many managers and supervisors skip this vital but easy-to-do step. Make sure your employees feel like they can come to you with any questions, suggestions, or issues they might have. An extremely common source of stress comes from your workers not feeling like anyone will listen to their complaints or feedback, and as those feelings bottle up they can become sources of stress and anxiety on the job.
Hopefully with these tips (and maybe some creative remodeling on the warehouse floor) you can provide a more pleasant environment for your workers and reduce stress levels across the board.