Are your employees excited to come to the office every day, or do they drag in late? Here at Wasp, we think building a strong (and motivated!) team is essential in small business. Avoid these six sins of office stress and make your work environment a place that employees want to be.
1. Infrequent Feedback
Employees worry about performance when they don’t receive feedback from mangers. Eliminate this office stress by scheduling regular evaluations. Be sure to discuss positive areas of each employee’s work and areas for improvement. Establish an “Employee of the Month” or other reward system to showcase star performers and give employees a goal to aspire to.
Also, make sure your employees feel comfortable giving feedback to managers. While some employees may be at ease sharing problems or concerns in a face-to-face meeting, other employees may prefer to provide feedback using an anonymous survey or though a suggestion box. Regardless of how you approach it, be sure the process is simple and that suggestions are taken to heart.
2. Mundane Office Hours
Have you ever finished your work for the day at 3 p.m., but couldn’t leave until 6 p.m.? Or do you work best after 10 a.m.? Forget the traditional 9-5 office hours. If it works for your small business, allow employees to decide the set hours they are in the office.
Or, reward employees on Fridays by letting your team to come in to the office late or leave early. Switching up the norm will allow employees to relax for a few needed hours.
3. Uncomfortable Work Space
Simple things like glaring computer screens, limited sticky notes or painful desk chairs can cause stress. Allow employees to select desk furniture and keep a “grocery list” for needed office supplies. Don’t neglect unconventional options like standing desks or stability ball chairs as healthy alternatives to everyday office chairs. Around the Wasp office, you can spot employees perched on stability balls, and the sales team sports sound-cancelling headsets to keep office noise out of calls. Check out these tips for more simple stress reducers.
4. Cubicle Confinement
Don’t trap your employees at their desks all day. Encouraging your team to interact on a personal level can foster better cohesion and a happier work environment. In addition to team lunches or friendly competitions (we’ve seen a few footraces in our warehouse on a Friday afternoon), consider adding a ping pong table or pool table to a corner of the office. Supply the area with waters and healthy snacks like fruit or nuts for a healthy, interactive work break.
Team bonding shouldn’t end at clock-out. Treat your team to happy hour appetizers, join an intramural league, or start a running group to train for a local 5K. After all, teams who play together, stay together.
5. Unhealthy Habits
Poor eating habits and lack of sleep and exercise create stress before your employees even enter the office. Help offset unhealthy habits by promoting health while at work. Instead of the all-you-can-eat taco bar, cater deli sandwiches with fruits and vegetables for the company lunch. For casual Friday, let workers wear sweatpants and bring in a yoga instructor for a mid-afternoon workout.
If your small business is home to a vending machine, encourage your provider to stock healthier options, like baked chips and granola bars, instead of your standard vending machine fare.
6. Missing Direction
A major cause of stress for employees is not knowing where the company is going and their role plays in to the overall strategy. Involve your team in making long-term and short-term goals. Post long-term goals around the office and give short-term goals to each employee at their desk. When goals are accomplished, celebrate! Employees who know the goals of their company (and know specifically what they can do to help) are more committed team members.
Keep your employees low on the stress meter and watch the returns in your company’s productivity.
What causes you stress in your work environment? Tell us by commenting below!