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If your employees are living fully and committing themselves to their jobs, they’re likely to experience some ambient stress during an average week. Within limits, stress is normal and even a bit beneficial; when we start to feel a reasonable amount of pressure, it shows we care about our jobs and we’re pushing ourselves to live our best lives and make the best use of our time. But of course, there’s a tipping point that is considerable risk to our health, our well-being and our productivity.

If your employees are feeling reasonable amounts of stress, don’t micromanage them. Back off and let them organize their time according to their own needs and personal preferences. On the other hand, if your employees are so stressed they’re telling you about it or asking for help—directly or indirectly—stop sitting on the sidelines and take action. Here are a few moves that can help you support the company by supporting your teams.

Encourage them to keep tabs.

Monitoring any negative feelings, especially stress, can be the first step to getting the problem under control. Stress levels often rise slowly and creep up unnoticed, and many of us reach our final limit without much warning. Don’t let the news arrive in the form of a health problem or a sudden outburst of tears or irritability. When the trouble light goes on, make sure your employees are tuned in enough to notice.

Stay open and withhold judgement.

If you keep your door, your ears and your mind open, your employees will be honest with you about their maxed-out schedules. When they share their concerns, you can listen and help by changing timelines or redistributing workloads. If they fear your judgement or disapproval, they won’t come to you, you won’t be able to help and the negative results will impact both you and them.

Encourage teamwork, not competition.

Internally competitive environments can be toxic, so encourage your teams to compete with entities outside the company, not with each other. Inside the walls of your workplace, your teams should look out for each other and lend a hand when necessary. Praise those who share the burden and council those who see an overwhelmed co-worker as an opportunity to advance their own interests.

Provide on-site breaks and encourage their use.

A game room, a coffee counter, a nap area, a yoga studio or an opportunity to bring a dog to work may not cost the company very much at all and can pay big dividends in terms of productivity and stress management. Just make sure employees know about these resources and feel comfortable using them.

For more on how to keep your teams happy and healthy, contact the Milwaukee staffing and management experts at Extension, Inc.

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