10 Tricks to Increase Productivity and Reduce Stress

Every business owner would love a strategy to reduce stress and increase productivity within the company, right? Take a quick moment to think: How does your company culture affect those who work within it? Overloaded, stressed out employees aren’t helping your bottom line. What’s worse, their stress often starts before they even clock-in.

Here are ten tips to help reduce employee stress and get that productivity flowing.

Establish open communication.

Your employees need to be equipped to have conversations they need to have. It’s definitely understated. Sometimes business owners take things for granted because they think they know their employees personally. Try not to assume the lines of communication are open, and make an effort to provide a safe space for employees to voice their concerns and challenges to you. 

Actually listen to your staff.

Business owners of all kinds need to master this aspect of management. During the course of any business day, it’s easy to get ahead of yourself and get caught in the millions of things you have to do. However, looking your employees in the eye while they talk will help you slow down and be present in the moment. This way, you’ll hear what they’re saying and not get lost in your own head about that management meeting in twenty minutes.

Encourage them to ask for what they need.

This should apply for short-term requests like working from home on certain days. For example, if a staff member has signs of the flu—but isn’t necessarily bedridden yet—wouldn’t you rather she work from home and nip that flu in the bud? This way, she can take care of herself and get back to work more quickly than running herself down at the office, getting others sick, and then taking several sick days to recover.

Build a community.

Managers who know how to promote a good culture make sure they encourage team members to support each other. Having a sounding board of peers is extremely important in reducing stress and combatting isolation for employees. Knowing they have a community at work to support them does wonders for reducing anxiety, instead of working in a constant state of loneliness and fear.

Allow for personal touches.

The kind of atmosphere you allow employees to create increases their productivity. If you allow them to decorate their workspaces, they’ll feel more at ease about the work they need to do. Letting them increase the amount of natural light they get lessens their stress. It can be as simple as opening a shade or moving a couple of desks around to allow for better flow. Always be open to suggestion and realize that moving a plant may sound ridiculous to you but could make all the difference to the person asking.

Be completely transparent.

Good leaders are humble and realize that we are all human beings. Trying to pretend everything is okay or that challenges don’t faze you is a quick way to build distrust amongst those beneath you. We all make mistakes, we all find ourselves overwhelmed, and being transparent about it creates trust, acceptance, and a bond.

Be authentic.

This is an important part of trust-building between managers and employees. How you show up in conversations with others is so important. Maintain your true voice at all times, and never put on a front. As advanced as we are, most of us have very sharpened lie-detectors. We can sense insincerity from a mile away, so be yourself.

Check your intentions often.

As a business owner, you always want to increase the bottom line. However, the best way to increase that cashflow is to be aware of the fact that you are dealing with human beings. Taking the time to make sure you’ve got this balance in mind before you give direction works the best. Putting dollar signs ahead of people is the quickest way to failure.

Provide mental health days.

We need to treat the mental health of our staff just like their physical health. If your employees are stressed out, day after day, and you provide no reprieve for them to recuperate, you’re asking for trouble. To help you visualize, picture this: A runner is training, and pulls a muscle. Instead of allowing the runner to heal, you force him to keep running, demanding faster and faster finish times. The runner will end up seriously injuring himself, and you’ll lose a quality athlete. The same goes for mental health.

Make time for real conversation.

We’re always glued to our smartphones and tablets these days, but don’t underestimate the value of a face-to-face conversation. No, not FaceTime. Real life, in-person conversation. You’d be amazed at the morale boost that comes from personal interaction. Plus, things like tone and emotion can’t be mistaken when you’re talking to someone in person. Body language and other context clues means there won’t be any misinterpretation.