By Faye Thompson
Building a stress-free work place is so important in our already hectic and fast-paced lives. Adding any extra, unnecessary stress can reduce productivity in the workplace and make staff less engaged in the tasks you give them.
But what can you do as a manager to keep staff happy, engaged and productive at work?
Being organised is key
If you are unorganised as a manager, how can you expect your staff to be any different? You are leading by example. By handing out work on short notice and giving unrealistic deadlines to your employees, you are adding unnecessary stress to the situation for both yourself and your team.
Make sure you know what work needs to be completed that week. On a Friday afternoon read through your emails, make a list and delegate the work out fairly. Have a team meeting on Monday morning to ensure the staff have the time and resources to complete the work at hand. This ensures all work has been delegated and realistic goals have been set for each team member that week.
You will always have some work that comes in half way through the week that is urgent, but at least by having the Monday morning meeting you know which staff members have the time to take the work on.
Be clear with what you want people to do
When you’re handing out a piece of work to a team member, don’t be vague. Be clear with what it is you are wanting them to do. By doing this you’re making sure there’s no room for interpretation and minimising error.
Double check they understand the job at hand by reiterating what it is your wanting them to do and make sure they know they can ask you questions if they’re struggling.
Don’t set unrealistic deadlines
For example, it’s Monday and you have a meeting on Friday. You tell a member of staff the report you need for the Friday meeting needs to be done before 5pm today. Does it really need to be done by 5pm? Or realistically, would it make no difference if the work was on your desk Thursday morning? Think about the consequences of the unnecessary stress you are putting on your staff.
By giving unrealistic and unnecessary deadlines, staff are more likely to make silly mistakes which then effects the quality of the work and reduces efficiency within the work place as time is then needed to correct those mistakes.
It all links back to being organised.
Understand the company objectives
It helps if all the managers are on the same page. If everyone has different ideas as to what the company is striving for it can cause confusion between different teams.
Have a clear plan which all the managers agree on. This will increase productivity as staff and managers will always have something to work towards.
Try to manage your own stress levels
It’s really easy to get bogged down with work and fill your calendar up right at the beginning of the week. Make sure you take some time out in the week to go through your emails.
Try booking out some free time in your calendar to get through the admin and book in weekly meetings with your team so everyone is up to date with what is happening that week.
Make sure there are no nasty surprises! (E.g. a meeting or deadline you have forgotten about/missed). This helps manage your own stress, which in turn, helps you to manage your teams stress.
Show appreciation when you can
Whether it’s a small comment such as ‘good work today’ or telling staff how great they have done in the weekly team meetings, it is sure to boost moral within the office and boost productivity. People want to be appreciated at work. It can make a huge difference to how they perform. If you never give out praise, staff will soon feel unappreciated and just another number. This can reduce staff retention rates and therefore reduce productivity and efficiency within the business.
Give staff something to work towards for their next appraisal and praise when possible.
Don’t jump to conclusions
If a staff member isn’t as productive at work or has been late a few days in a row, don’t jump to conclusions and assume they’re getting lazy. Sit down with them one on one and ask why. It is such an important question and so important that you listen to the answer. This way you can understand what is making them less productive or late every morning and put things into place to help them out.
Have an open door
Always make sure your team can come talk to you. Whether it’s about work or their private life… it’s always good to talk to people. If they’re work load is too much, make sure they can come talk to you about it. See what you can do to help, staff appreciate it and it will boost moral.