How to deal with stress in the workplace

The first thing I ask my employees during our monthly 1:1's is 'how are you doing?'. Our sessions are 90% revolved around what that person is dealing with, their workload, their home life - are they struggling? If so, why? 80-90% of someone's output is based on their mindset, so if you don't know what is happening in your teams' minds you can't possibly expect to accurately judge their performance or potential. As its stress awareness month this April here are some honest thoughts on stress in the workplace.

Good leadership doesn't feel like leadership, it feels like support. 

Things that we do to help combat stress:

1. Visibility across workloads. We all work from which means Managers can see when someone has a heavy workload and look to support them/make sure they stop taking on tasks that might stress them out more. 

2. Monthly socials. It sounds fluffy, but bringing the team together once per month for an activity goes a long way for morale and stress reduction. Because of curse, there are months and days when things are a bit crazy, perhaps we've bitten off more than we can chew but get everyone together to unwind, eat, laugh. It goes a long way. 

3. Stop sending messages out of hours. 

If I have something to say to my team outside of working hours, I schedule emails and slack messages for 9am the following day. This means I can brain dump everything that I want to say whilst it\s still fresh in my mind and my team can enjoy their evening uninterrupted. 

4. Acknowledge that everyone gets stressed.

My team knows when I'm under the pump - because I let them know. Which creates space for them to be honest to. The amazing thing about that open and honest culture is that when someone does have a deadline or something that they're struggling to execute, the rest of the team are on it straight away to help out in any way they can. One of our non-negotiables at Klowt is "there is no such thing as it's not my job". And I'm proud that my team take that very seriously. 

A bit of stress is good. But constant strain impacts mental health and decreases employee retention. 

What are the most common causes of stress in the workplace & how to avoid/deal with it?

In my experience the things that create the highest level of stress in any business boil down to one thing - people. 

1. Disorganised people. 

Your work impacts everyone in your team, so if you're late delivering your work the knock-on effect is like a stack of dominos - and so is the stress. Ensuring that everyone understands their work has an impact on others goes a long way to make sure things are delivered on time and if they can't be, that it's communicated to others in the team and any customers or clients. 

2. Unrealistic people. 

These people are usually managers or high-achieving employees. The people that say yes to everything and stack their workload, or their teams' workload so high that it's impossible to ever get through it. Which creates high levels of stress and anxiety across the board. So don't do it. Be realistic in your expectations, your goals - and ensure your team are too. I often take work of a specific member of my team because she's such a high achiever she wants to do everything... which she very much can. But I need to make sure she doesn't burn out in the process. 

3. Selfish people. 

Selfish people don't care that their words, actions and workload impact others. They do what is right for them, regardless of the cost to others in the business or customers. If you meet this person, run. I have a saying internally at Klowt: Never work with assholes - it's never worth it.