People Management
4 min.

Minimizing Stress at Work: 7 Ideas for Managers

Andrée-Anne Blais-Auclair
Last updated on 6 Dec. 2023
Published on 10 Jun. 2020
Woman meditating to minimize stress at work

As a manager, you’ll often have to manage stress—both yours and your employees’.

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Whether it stems from a misunderstanding or from a difficult or unexpected personal situation, stress can quickly affect your team’s internal dynamic. As captain of the ship, you’d do well to keep this in mind to better help affected workers. Ultimately, providing a stimulating work environment will help reduce stress. Here are a few ideas to do so.

Your Toolbox Against Stress at Work

1. Encourage Active Breaks

You could encourage your team to take active breaks. Whether people work seated or standing, stress can manifest itself through muscular tensions in the back and neck. Active breaks can relieve some of those tensions and promote good physical health. They shouldn’t take more than 5 to 15 minutes each, which is enough time to get a change of scenery.

Encourage your team to stretch their legs by taking walks on their lunch breaks.

2. Set Up a Zen Break Room

Some employees see breaks as an opportunity to stop and recharge for a few moments. It’s therefore essential to offer them an appealing break room conducive to relaxation.

Get a couch that allows them to unwind a little, and decorate the space lightly. Why not add a kettle or a coffee machine for tea and coffee aficionados? Our famous Agendrix lounge has all of those, creating a relaxing atmosphere that provides a break from the action for those who need it. I’ve even seen a few employees power nap in there. 😴

3. Make Sure That Boundaries Are Clear

Being able to say no is just as important for employers as it is for employees. It’s okay to help your team, but doing their work for them can quickly become too much to bear. As a manager, you already have a full schedule. Don’t overestimate your available time and energy. Otherwise, your interactions with employees could suffer.

Here at Agendrix, we set boundaries by regularly planning individual meetings with our leads.

The meetings address weekly and upcoming tasks, as well as what deliverables can be reasonably expected. That way, expectations are clear, and I can preserve a better mental balance as a consequence.

4. Set Priorities

What can be done about the infamous rolling to-do list? To avoid feeling overburdened, it quickly becomes important to establish priorities. I suggest using a task prioritizing system to this end. Explain to your employees which tasks are to be done first. The clearer you are, the better your expectations will be met, and the less stressed your team will feel.

To incorporate this rule into our daily life, we use Clubhouse project management software, which allows us to organize and change project priorities. This is a solid asset for managers, as it keeps them updated on project progress.

5. Respect Employees’ Privacy

Every working day must come to an end. When you get home, disconnect from work and let your staff do the same. Don’t expect them to answer you in the evening or on days off. Let’s be honest, few messages truly can’t wait.

Even better, use exclusively a professional messaging tool to get in touch with your employees. That way, the separation between the work and the personal life is clear.

6. Keep an Open Door

While discussing stress remains taboo, there are many who could greatly benefit from it. Show empathy and openness toward your employees. They can find it difficult to disclose their stress and anxiety to their family and close ones. Don’t hesitate to remind them that you’re there to listen to them. That way, they’ll be able to get a load off their shoulders, and in return, you’ll better understand their behavior at work.

Many managers mistakenly believe that they absolutely need to distance themselves emotionally from their employees.

But employees who trust their superiors will be that much more likely to take their feedback to heart.

7. Lead by Example First and Foremost

Though it is your duty to promote your staff’s happiness, it’s no reason to ignore your own stress. Lead by example. A manager who takes care of themselves will be more efficient when it comes time to help their employees, and might be more receptive to suggestions.

Betting on the Future

Managing both personal and team anxiety is quite the challenge, but it’s never too late to implement solutions. As an employer, you have a key role to play. Your way of leading your business and your relationship with your employees can have an enormous impact on their stress levels. Offer them the support they need, have realistic expectations, and most importantly, listen to them.

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