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The UPS Store Small Business Blog
  • 02 November 2020
  • Kayla Meier

How to Help Your Employees Manage Stress

The holidays are fast approaching, and International Stress Awareness Week is here from Nov. 2 - 6. What better time than now to help your employees manage stress? According to recent reports, many workers describe this time of uncertainty as the most stressful period of their careers. Add to that the long hours and customer service challenges that come with the holiday season, and you have the recipe for a perfect storm of stress. Luckily, there are many tips and techniques available for you to help your employees manage stress in the season ahead.

Go Remote

father and son with the family dog

If you employ remote workers, look for ways to help them separate their work from their personal lives to manage stress. Encourage them to avoid checking email and messages after work hours. Many employees are juggling childcare and other family obligations that can add to their stress levels. If you can, be flexible with your team members and their schedules to help your employees manage stress. They will appreciate your understanding and feel empowered to make the most of their time “in the office.”

Get Moving

Whether working from home or in person at the office, break time is more important than ever to help your employees manage stress. Understand that your employees will need time away from their tasks, and inspire them to take a walk, enjoy some fresh air or fit in a quick stretching session during their breaks. According to the Mayo Clinic, almost any type of movement or exercise can help reduce stress and boost your mood. Remind your team about the stress-busting benefits of a 15-minute walk or a lunchtime yoga session if they work from home. And do not forget to schedule physical activity into your day as well. When you and your employees have your endorphins flowing and your minds at ease, you can all feel more in control and less stressed out.

Do Good

When wrapping up a stressful year, it is important to consider the good you can do for others as well as for yourself and your small business. Volunteering can help your employees manage stress. Like exercising, doing good deeds can help release endorphins, counteracting feelings of stress. Give your employees opportunities to care for their communities and de-stress during work hours. Though a large team outing may be difficult at this time, there are many ways for your employees to volunteer from home during designated hours. For resources and suggestions on volunteering safely, look at this list from AmeriCorps. Just one volunteer effort a month could help your employees lower their stress levels.

Stay Connected

In this time of isolation, it can often feel like you are tackling stress alone. Show your team that you take stress management seriously by opening a dialogue. Hold monthly town hall meetings where you give updates on the state of the business and answer appropriate employee questions. Celebrate the hard work and accomplishments of your employees without glorifying overwork. Organize individual check-ins with each worker to help them set and keep manageable goals for their role in the small business. Let them know that they can come to you to avoid burnout and unnecessary stress. 

Encourage Escape

The holiday season is often a time for all hands on deck. For that reason, employees may feel pressure to overexert themselves at work. Additionally, fears around job security might discourage employees from taking time off to alleviate stress. However, there are many benefits to vacations for both employees and employers. Employees get time to rest, relax and engage in fun, non-work activities. Employers can use their team members’ time off to cross-train others and troubleshoot performance issues. While employees do not necessarily need to take an extended vacation to help manage stress, they should take time to fully unplug from work and stressful duties like home improvement. As an employer, you can create a healthy culture around time off and stress management. Talk to your employees about it, and help them find vacation coverage. Taking the stress out of scheduling time off will inspire your team to recharge before they feel burned out and overwhelmed. 

Be a Role Model

As a small business owner, you set the tone for your employees. While running a small business can be an all-encompassing task, setting and respecting work-life boundaries can go a long way to help your employees manage stress. Ask yourself if the email you are writing late at night can be sent in the morning. Take time to talk about your stress prevention practices with your employees. Keep the lines of communication open so workers feel safe, secure and less stressed.

In an unprecedented year, mental health is more important than ever, and it plays an important role in the success of any small business or organization. You have the power to help your employees manage stress. Set expectations for your team through your own actions. Enable teammates to reduce workplace stress by unplugging, using movement and mindfulness, taking breaks, volunteering, and speaking up when they need assistance. It is a team effort that will pay dividends for the health of your employees and your business.

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