Stress is an issue that is creating a huge concern in today’s work from home conditions. It is something that needs to be closely paid attention to. Work life balance is a tricky thing, however there are some hacks that you can do to create and maintain healthy boundaries between both. As a manager, it’s imperative that you maintain self and your team’s morale. Stress can bring down your entire team. Here are some suggestions to help you, a team manager to take initiatives to handle stress.
Be a mix of transformational, affiliative and democratic leader- This situation calls for a contingency based leadership approach and I would recommend a mix of these three. Transformational leadership will help the teammates to feel inspired and will keep their mind of the goal and vision rather than the daily deadline of the task. Being an affiliative leader makes the team mate feel important and valued. As interpersonal bonds are crucial for humans to feel a sense of belongingness. This would target their belongingness needs. The sense of alienation could be a reason for stress which can be effectively targeted. A democratic leadership style especially from the side of HR managers will make the employees feel that they are being heard and will help tackle the threat of insecurity that may be affecting the employees due to pandemic.
Stress can cause serious problems in a person’s mental, physical and emotional health. Do not disregard the leave application or reduced performance from the side of employees. It may be them trying to cope up or suffering from depression or anxiety which are serious issues.
- Keep a track of an employee’s performance levels each week.
- Organise a catch up session inside the team itself about WFH situations and work challenges. This will give employees an arena to let out their problems.
- Ensure flexibility in work timings and schedule. The workforce comprises people from all strata and backgrounds, understand their needs and problems and come up with a schedule for them in consultation with them.
- Provide access and facilities to a qualified psychologist professional and counselling services. This will help the employees get expert intervention in their issues. Make sure that these are qualified professionals.
- Organise creative or cultural activities and events. This will help them de-stress from the official matters and use their creative and artistic skills.
- Ensure that the team managers themselves are motivated that they spread and make sure that this motivation trickles down to the lower levels.
Encourage employees to take personal growth initiatives- Give employees the access to online courses and development programs. This will instill a sense of personal responsibility and will increase their confidence.
- Recommend or make it a mandate to use stress level measuring and managing applications- There are a lot of mobile applications out there that help check an individual’s stress levels by basic tests or physical stimuli. This will make employees aware that they need to take a break and slow pace their work.
- Encourage informal communication and sharing between employees- This will help the employees compensate for the lack of face to face communication and feeling of belongingness. Companies are starting fun challenges and integrated activities through social media and mobile applications like sharing your wfh setup or having virtual meals together through skype.
- Be in touch with your employees- Make sure that the employees have access to you and other HR managers to encourage and facilitate direct communication about their difficulties.
- Administer small surveys and quizzes to assess the employee state. Also have an efficient system of feedback and respond to all kinds of feedback.
- Collaborate with experts to organise webinars and other guided activities like a workshop on art therapy or a webinar on self care.
Making a mandatory huddle in the morning and evening will make employees responsible for completing their work and towards their team as they have to present their work in front of the entire team. Manager will be able to monitor the work of the team mates. This will also help in facilitating communication between the team members about work and work challenges. There is an inbuilt feedback and recognition system as the manager can give feedback personally later or on the call itself. The manager can also appreciate employees who went the extra mile and recognition in front of teammates will motivate them to perform better. This also encourages more work related discussions and will provide a platform for shared learning.
This is the time to nurture interpersonal relationships. Team mates will be able to relate to the work pressures and might find a good friend in them who is more relatable. Encourage interpersonal communications and social health of the person. As a manager, you could stand as an example to this. This would not be the time to change or modify job roles as there is a potential chance of wrecking chaos on the person itself. Instead, enrich their job and minimize work related changes.
There are no definite solutions to tackle stress, it depends on the team dynamics and work environment but these are some points to get you started.
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