Tips to combat workplace stress

As the retail landscape becomes increasingly competitive, grocers are seeking to maximize profitability and stay ahead of the competition, which sometimes means extra hours and increased workloads for employees. This can lead to an increase in employee stress and anxiety and not surprisingly, according to Statistics Canada and the Coalition of Ontario Psychiatrists, 40 per cent of Canadians suffer from workplace stress, mainly due to inflexibility of schedule, long hours, constant connectivity, and lack of vacation time.
Amex recently surveyed small business owners (SBOs) about their unique set of pressures and worries in the American Express Canada Small Business Monitor. This got me thinking about the importance of stress management in the workplace. Managing employee stress helps boost morale, improves the quality of service your team provides and contributes to a more successful business overall.
Based on feedback from SBOs, I wanted to share my tips for stress management in the workplace and how it will benefit your business.

Here are three things you can do to keep workplace stress at bay:

Encourage time with family and friends

Being confident and self-assured is important in the workplace but it’s crucial to have a support network of friends and family to lean on in difficult times. The American Express Small Business Monitor found that fifty-seven per cent of small business owners lean on their spouse for comfort and stress relief, and just under half (44%) said they rely on their friends. For all employees, from front line workers to senior managers, a strong support system is crucial to dealing with the pressures of work. When you encourage employees to make friends and family a priority, you’re enabling a happier workforce.

Create a positive workplace culture
Regardless of the industry, achieving work-life balance is a give-and-take that sometimes requires personal sacrifice in order to get the job done. In customer service oriented environments, there can be trying days on the job, which is why it’s important to create a culture that encourages employees to focus on the positive and deal effectively with stressful situations. It’s important for managers to lead by example, so having a positive attitude and dealing with stress in healthy ways, such as exercising and pursuing personal interests, must come from the top down.

Help your employees pursue their dreams
It’s important to get to know your employees and understand what they want out of their careers. Are there new opportunities they’d like to take on? New skills they want to learn? While it’s not always possible to give employees all of the opportunities they want, listening to your employees, supporting their professional development and recognizing their great work goes a long way.

As times change and the lines between work and personal life blur, it’s important to facilitate a balanced work life for employees and provide the tools to help reduce workplace anxiety and make employees feel more empowered. This will ultimately lead to a healthier and more effective business environment.