Arjun Singh Rathore
The global work force is more stressed out than ever before, leading to decreased retention rates, disengagement & poor productivity Unrealistic expectations and a lack of work-life balance are the leading causes of stress. Managers should take an active role in helping their employees manage stress at work. This article is for managers and business owners who want to improve employee morale and boost employee retention by reducing stress at work.
A huge step towards the achievement of your targets is to set goals on a long-term basis. Tendencies to approach success and avoid failure are basic motivational force that plays a predominant role in the activation and persistence of human behavior in achievement contexts. Achievement of targets is our ability to identify a version of ourselves for future that we want and then to prioritise our time, energy and focus to create a plan and path that leads to achieving those goals. Achieving goal is the outcome or end result that we want to achieve when setting targets. When you have self-confidence, you believe achieving any goal is possible. It makes you confident to take on new challenges and create new experiences that you have never done before.
Most of the times the targets are set for Fast growth which usually comes at a cost. If your employees are working harder than ever but the quality of their work isn’t rising along with the longer hours and increased production levels, it may be time to admit stress is a problem.
Still experiencing lingering effects from the recession, many companies are understaffed and workers are underpaid. The importance placed on hard work and making profits, and the rise of technology that enables the workload to follow you home, have driven stress levels to unprecedented heights.
In the American Psychological Association’s recent Work Stress Survey, eight out of 10 people said that work is the source of their stress, and India is no exception to it. The survey also found that 42 percent of adults reported their stress levels have increased over the past five years. People perform best under pressure is a myth. One of the worst productivity killers, is when a boss imposes phony deadlines for no reason or exaggerates the need to hit goals or production levels. It is counterintuitive, but by saying this is the only opportunity we’re going to have, you are increasing the likelihood that the staff won’t do their best.
On the other side of the coin Yerkes-Dodson Law suggests that we need a healthy amount of pressure as well to prevent us from feeling bored or unmotivated. When employees are faced with pressure in the workplace, it motivates them to do their best work and perform successfully. Pressure creates a sense of urgency to complete a task or hit a deadline. Healthy amounts of pressure help the team to stay focused and productive. Too little pressure and employees are more likely to procrastinate, get distracted, or struggle to concentrate on the task at hand. The optimum level of pressure helps people to focus and do their best work. It’s when the pressure becomes too much that problems develop. High levels of pressure can lead people to feel agitated, anxious and stressed.
To find the right level of pressure, you need to adopt the right tools, implement the right strategies and target the right goals. First of all, make sure that you have a sales dashboard that provides you with the information and metrics that you need. Use it to measure each team member’s performance, the opportunity in the market(s) they deal with and set goals that accurately reflect that even catering specific targets to each individual.
Make sure you your team, both together and individually, have plenty of ability to generate business resources and use the team meetings as an opportunity to get their input. Ask them the following questions about the sales objectives you hit: Are these objectives achievable and realistic? Are you confident the team is capable of achieving them? Where might you face challenges? Do you need any more training and support to achieve them?
Stress results from too much pressure. It’s normal to feel stressed at work, like when there’s a looming deadline, or you have to work overtime in a last-minute push to get a job finished. Short-term stress like this is easy enough to get out of your system with a little down-time, an early night, or a workout. It’s when stress becomes continuous that it can be detrimental to your team’s health and the company’s productivity. This can especially become a problem when the entire team is going through the same challenging situation. And continuous stress without relief is known as distress or chronic stress, and this can have several negative side-effects.
There are many reasons your team might experience stress at work, but you can’t afford to neglect the health of your number one business asset: the employee. As a manager it is important to be able to identify the specific stress triggering in your office. Doing so means you can take steps to minimize their impact. Stress can be flared up by a combination of any of these factors: Difficult working conditions, Poor management, Unmanageable workload, Long hours, Ill-defined expectations and responsibilities, Conflicting priorities, Conflict between team members, Low levels of trust, Lack of support & team collaboration and Job uncertainty.
While some work-related stress is inevitable from time to time, managers should take the necessary steps and develop a proactive plan to reduce workplace stress for their team. To start with:
Office environment: Bring nature inside to fight chemicals (the physical environment of the workplace had a measurable impact on worker well-being and behaviour).
Feedback and feeling valued: People need to know they are doing their job well. When your employees feel their work is valued, they are more able to cope with fluctuations in pressure without feeling stressed. Congratulate success, celebrate big wins, and even simply thank your team for their hard work. Simple gestures of acknowledgment and appreciation will promote a positive working environment and increase motivation.
Communication: Create a work environment where every team member feels valued and involved by encouraging open communication.
Clearly define job roles: Ill-defined job roles lead to confusion, increased workload, job insecurity, blame culture and conflict within teams.
Autonomy and trust: Trust your team to work hard without breathing down their necks. When you communicate faith in your team, you reinforce their self-belief.
Flexibility: Offering a more relaxed working schedule improves your team’s work-life balance and helps to reduce the stress on team members with other commitments.
Time out: It can be hard to switch off from work in today’s hyper-connected world (especially when we are stuck inside), but taking time out to relax and unwind not only helps reduce stress levels, it gives your team the chance to recharge and return to their job feeling refreshed.
At the same time an employees can also manage his/her stress by doing a number of things to cope better with the pressures of a constant quest for growth.
At workplace: By addressing the source of the problem you’re taking the first steps in managing and reducing your stress levels.
Talk to your manager: Talking to team leader or line manager can help to ease the burden, as they can help you to confront the pressure, remove roadblocks and take practical steps to reduce your stress.
Ask for help: Aside from your manager, your fellow team members should know that you’re struggling with pressures, and ask if they can help in any way.
Get organized: Take a step back and give yourself time to organize your workload, it can seem much more manageable. Write a ‘to do’ list, prioritize tasks by urgency, and turn off email notifications so you can work more efficiently without distractions.
Consider a CRM: This is the type of technology that helps your sales team focus their time on selling rather than wasting their time on complicated admin procedures.
Prioritize and focus: A simple and easy-to-use prioritizing activity will make you feel like you have an extra team member just to handle all of your seemingly endless data entry, tracking and reporting work.
Not having targets is an excellent recipe for average living. So to be successful, targets have to be set, either by the employer or by the employee himself, and keep trying unless you reach it, but do it in a stress free and cordial environment and not on the cost of collateral damage.
Arjun Singh Rathore