Stress in the workplace is a very common problem and a leading cause of many health problems, such as depression, anxiety and increased risk of high blood pressure and heart disease. With high workloads and expectations, long hours, draining meetings and busy lives outside of work, too, it’s no wonder why so many employees are feeling the pressure.
At NOVOS, reducing stress and promoting a healthy work-life balance was something we wanted to tackle right away. A happy employee is a more motivated and productive employee, after all.
As April is Stress Awareness month, we thought it was the perfect time to share our top 6 tips for managing stress at work and what we do as a company to ensure every Novi is as happy and relaxed as possible at work.
1. Take your lunch break
Working through your lunch break in the hopes of completing a few extra tasks is something we’ve all been guilty of. But pushing yourself to continue working when you’re tired and staring at a screen for hours on end will only lead to stress.
Make sure you’re taking your lunch break and shorter breaks throughout the day to refresh your mind and take some time away from the screen. Getting outside for a walk, taking some extra time to cook up a delicious lunch or reading a few chapters of your current read will help you to relax and unwind. You are 100% entitled to take your lunch break and shouldn’t be made to feel like you have to work through it!
To help encourage our employees to take their breaks, we’ve implemented a ‘no midday meetings’ rule from 12pm–1pm, allowing people to take their breaks guilt-free and enjoy their time.
We have also recently introduced lunchtime wellness sessions to help aid stress. These sessions are held virtually biweekly and include activities such as vision boarding, guided meditation, goal setting and more.
2. Utilise flexible working
Having a set routine and scheduled working hours is a great way to structure your day. But sometimes things don’t always go to plan. This is why we offer flexible working so you can fit your work around your personal life.
Whether you have a child or a pet who’s sick and needs some extra attention, or you were out with friends a little later the night before, our flexible working scheme allows employees to enjoy that much-needed lie-in or finish earlier if needed.
By utilising your flexible working hours, you can relax, knowing that you don’t need to be tied to your desk for most of the day. Flexible workplaces can help eliminate stress by allowing employees to work at the times that suit their lifestyle best.
3. Take your holiday
Your holiday allowance is there to be used, so make sure you book the time off for a break! After a particularly busy period, or if you feel yourself starting to get overly stressed, an extra long weekend or a whole week or two to travel, spend time with friends and family or simply rest can help you feel more refreshed and even increase your productivity.
At NOVOS, we have an unlimited holiday allowance. This ensures that no one has to worry about saving up their holiday days for certain occasions or experience the gloom of knowing their holiday allowance has run out for the rest of the year.
We also have quarterly self-care days, which we actively encourage everyone to use. These days are most often used on a Friday or Monday for a relaxing 3-day weekend and were introduced as a way to make sure everyone is looking after themselves.
Here are some examples of what employees get up to on their self-care days:
- A total lazy day!
- Workout classes.
- Cultural activities (museums, galleries etc.)
- Going for a walk.
- Getting the home freshened up and in order.
4. Ask for help when needed
Having a strong support system at work can drastically reduce your experience of stress. Oftentimes, when the work is piling up, it can be hard to see a way out, which is why asking for help is so important, as a fresh pair of eyes may see a solution that you couldn’t.
Ideally, employees should be comfortable enough to speak to their peers or manager about their current workload before tasks get on top of them. Realistic targets should be discussed and set, and any issues should be talked about and resolved in plenty of time.
Asking for help may feel daunting – especially for those who are independent and worry it may come across as a failure. But your mental health should always take priority. If you work in a supportive and positive environment, others will be more than willing to help out when needed.
5. Reward yourself for achievements
No matter how big or small, achievements should always be recognised and rewarded. After completing a task, your reward could be a coffee break, a walk outside or spending time scrolling through social media. These small rewards will give you something to look forward to, motivating you to complete the work while also offering a break and time to relax before moving on to the next task.
Managers should also recognise and praise their employees for their hard work, as encouragement can go a long way in building someone’s confidence and motivation. At NOVOS, we use Assembly to give out recognition points, which can then be turned into vouchers to use on popular retailers, food delivery companies, show and concert tickets or even towards a holiday.
6. Set Boundaries
It’s perfectly acceptable to set boundaries in the workplace and with your co-workers/managers. Boundaries allow us to work in a way that makes us feel most comfortable, reducing stress, any extra pressure and the risk of burning out.
Examples of boundaries include:
- Not responding to messages or emails outside of working hours.
- Defining what hours of the day you prefer to work.
- Defining what time of day you prefer to schedule calls and meetings.
- Shutting your laptop over lunch.
- Not installing work-related apps on your personal phone or computer.
By implementing these changes, whether you’re a business owner wanting to make life easier for employees or an employee looking to improve your work-life balance, you’ll soon start to see a positive difference.
For more advice, take a look at our article on how to deal with burnout culture as a business.