Stress Free Work Environment
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If your employees perceive your workplace as a threat, then you cannot build the trust your team needs to collaborate and innovate effectively. In her book, The Fearless Organization , Amy Edmondson describes three steps you can take to build psychological safety. First, make your expectations obvious by giving your employees clear goals. Second, make sure everyone feels like their voices are heard, and that everyone knows that you want their voices to be heard. You can do this by inviting people to speak up in meetings and conducting brainstorming sessions more than you impose top-down decisions. Third, develop a work environment that is both challenging and unthreatening. Build regular break times into the workday. The human brain can focus for around minutes before it needs to rest.
Suggest they go for a short walk especially if they have been in a series of long meetings , send out calendar invites reminding them to take breaks, and try to lead by example. Letting their minds rest and moving their bodies will provide your team with the mental space they need to perform well consistently. Encourage the use of private workspaces when team members need to focus. Open offices are prone to distractions , increasing stress and decreasing productivity. There is sometimes a built-in expectation that employees must always be available for impromptu meetings and discussions as a result of the office layout.
Set boundaries around time outside of work. Teams that are not all in one location might need to work outside of traditional hours from time to time. However, the blurring of work and personal time is a significant source of job stress. To combat this, set clear guidelines and follow them. Look into flexible work policies. If you want a highly adaptive team, then create an adaptable work environment.
Give your employees flexibility by allowing them to work staggered hours, taking into account their varying needs. Hold one-on-one meetings to understand those needs and find alternative arrangements for people who are struggling with work-life balance. Decades of data have confirmed that higher employee engagement, or the strength of the mental and emotional connection an employee feels toward their workplace, has many positive benefits — including reduced stress , improved health and job satisfaction, as well as increased productivity , job retention, and profitability.
Be transparent. If your team members are confused about how their work connects to and serves both the short- and long-term company goals, they will naturally become more stressed and less productive — especially in times of uncertainty. Part of your job is to help them see the big picture, or the role they play in helping the company achieve its larger goals. If they are curious about something that you are unable to share, be transparent about why. You want to reduce the stress that accompanies ambiguity. A review of the early laboratory studies  of unpredictable noise, or intermittent or irregular sound, found it to be associated with decreases in performance under five circumstance: 1 during clerical task after onset or offset of noise; 2 during mental tasks involving mental calculation or short-term recall; 3 during highly or moderately demanding motor tasks; and 5 during dual tasks.
Sundstrom postulates that the observed adverse effects of unpredictable noise could be explained by temporary distraction of attention, as in some studies the effects were observed during the few seconds immediately after burst of noise. Indeed, problems associated with low levels of intermittent or irregular noise have increasingly become a common source of stress in occupational settings e. Indeed, low-intensity noise a common feature in many office settings may be capable of producing performance deficits as well, particularly when information-processing demands are high. A study by Leather and colleagues  investigated the impact of low intensity noise on British office workers by distributing a questionnaire amongst workers.
This study did not find a main effect for high noise levels i. However, a moderator effect between noise exposure and occupational stress was observed, with higher noise exacerbating negative effects of job strain, organisational commitment and well-being. This study highlights that although the physical characteristics of an environment might not be stressful in themselves, they may nevertheless influence the negative impact of some simultaneously occurring psychosocial stress. Noise-related stress is often associated with psychosocial conditions in the workplace.
For example, a study by Lercher, Hortnagl and Korfer  found annoyance with noise had a positive relationship with diastolic blood pressure: namely, as annoyance with noise increased, so did the measured diastolic blood pressure. This observed correlational relationship was found to be amplified among workers who reported high job dissatisfaction and low levels of social support on the job. In a simulated open-office experiment conducted by Evans and Johnson  in a laboratory setting, they observed that a typically low intensity office noise has no adverse effect on simple tasks, but stress hormones were found to be elevated and task motivation was reduced following a 3-hour exposure period.
Noise is a common feature of the ambient work environment, and, in turn, is a common environmental stressor in the workplace. Bearing this in mind, managing noise and sound in the workplace cannot, therefore, be considered in isolation from their full social and organisational context: namely, considering the nature of the tasks to be accomplished, the organizational structures and process that the physical work environment is designed to support, and the role of individual differences there within . Windows in the workplace have been found to be a prominent and significant physical feature of the workplace, not only as a matter of preference but also for health and well-being  .
A growing number of studies have observed that the importance and benefits of window access is more than simply a function of personal preference. This is evidenced by the fact that views of natural elements have consistently been found to be advantageous to health across a range of settings, including: hospitals  , prisons   , and workplaces    .
Much of the literature examining windows in the workplace has been examined in non-industrial settings, and in particular in relation to office settings. Within the occupational literature, numerous studies have observed that windowless or underground workplaces tend to attract a number of negative reactions, including: diminished satisfaction and increased health complaints   . In contrast, workplaces with windows particularly windows with views to nature have been found to demonstrate beneficial and restorative effects for workers.
More specifically, a study by Vischer  found building occupants with greater access to windows gave, on average, better comfort ratings. Employee surveys have highlighted a number of reasons why employees may have a preference for windows in the workplace, including: weather information, illumination, sunlight, better mood effects, aesthetics and appearance, ventilation, temperature control and information about the outside world   . Employees whose outdoor views included only built components such as, roads and buildings experience higher levels of job stress than others.
This study postulated that access to windows in the workplace would impact employees wellbeing through three potential mechanisms: general level of illumination; illumination quality sunlight penetration ; and the view the percentage of rural elements in accessible view. The study was particularly interested to examine whether the impact of windows was direct i. The results of the study found the level of illumination measured using a light meter was not found to correlate with any of the outcome measures.
Sunlight penetration was found to have a positive direct effect on job satisfaction, and self-reported well-being, and a negative direct effect on intention to quit. View, in contrast, was observed to have no direct effects on the specified outcome measures, but was, however, found to have an interactive moderated effects with job strain to influence both intention to quit and aspects of wellbeing. More specifically, this study observed that having views of rural elements through a window helped suppress the negative impact of job strain upon both intention to quit and well-being amongst surveyed workers.
In a similar vein, Yildrim, Akalin-Baskaya and Celebi  further explored this notion by investigating the possibility that access to a window might help workers cope with overstimulation and lack of privacy, which is often inherent in open-plan offices. The results of their study found that employees that worked in closer proximity to a window had a more positive perception of their worksite, than those whose workplace was further away from a window. In addition, those workers that worked further away from a window were found to complain more of being disturbed by colleagues, whilst those working with ready access to a window or benefited from high partitions providing reasonable level privacy were observed to report higher satisfaction with their worksite.
This study provides further evidence to demonstrate that the characteristics of the physical work environment, like having access to a window, appear to compensate for some of the negative effects of many work environments, particularly open-plan offices. There is accumulating evidence that the characteristics of the physical work environment can function as a coping resource and provide numerous opportunities for restoration. In additional, the concept of stress provides a useful means of understanding how the physical work environment can be designed to support individual and organizational health . Indeed, it should provide methods of coping and managing this stress. Problems at work are more strongly associated with health complaints than are any other life stressor; more so than even financial problems or family problems.
Stress Takes a Toll on Your Body Stress has many adverse effects to your overall health and well being. Tips to Reduce Stress Keep a positive attitude. Accept that there are events that you cannot control. Be assertive instead of aggressive. Assert your feelings, opinions, or beliefs instead of becoming angry, defensive, or passive. Learn and practice relaxation techniques; try meditation, yoga, or tai-chi for stress management.