By Craig Booker
June 18, 2024

Relieving pressure in the workplace

We all have different factors that affect the pressure we experience on any given day. Learn how to decrease pressure in the workplace.

We ALL experience pressure. Pressure from work, school, or our career. Stress from relationships or trying to meet expectations from friends or family. There might be pressure in your marriage or your relationship with your kids. The point is that we all have different factors that can increase or decrease the pressure we experience on any given day.

Pressure is everywhere. It can come from our finances or a lack of planning. An unexpected presentation at work, your car breaking down, or a quick chat with your boss. Pressure can sneak up on you at a moment’s notice. In 2020, we experienced many new stressors that knocked many off their feet.

The impact of unchecked pressure

When employees experience excessive and prolonged pressure without proper support or relief, the impact can be devastating. Not only can it be devastating to the individual, but it can also impact the organization as a whole. Before diving into ways to relieve workplace pressure, let’s examine its negative consequences.

  1. Decreased Productivity and Performance
  2. Increased Absenteeism and Turnover
  3. Poor Decision-Making
  4. Strained Workplace Relationships
  5. Legal and Financial Implications

Strategies for relieving pressure

One of the best ways to create a healthy work environment is to recognize the importance of addressing workplace pressure. We all know pressure exists. In many cases, employees spend as much time or more at work than they do at home. Organizations that fail to prioritize their team’s well-being will affect the bottom line and, quite possibly, the company’s viability as a whole. 

Now that we understand the importance of addressing pressure, let’s examine some strategies that any team can implement.

1. Prioritize workplace well-being

While encouraging work-life balance is the prevailing advice found via a Google search, this phrase means different things to different people. It is more about creating a healthy separation between a person’s personal and professional lives. Employees need to feel that it is okay to disconnect when they leave the office. The bigger priority here is employee well-being.

There’s not a one-size-fits-all solution here. It could involve offering increased flexibility, remote work options, and a generous time off policy. People need to see that their personal lives, while private, are a priority to their employers. They need to believe that prioritizing their overall well-being is not just a clever marketing campaign by HR.

2. Provide brain health resources

It’s no longer enough to have pamphlets in the HR department. Today, employees need access to counseling services, employee assistance programs, and workshops on topics like stress management.

3. Encourage open communication

It is one thing to say you have an “open door” policy. It is another to create an open and supportive environment where team members feel free to discuss workloads, concerns, and challenges without fear of retaliation or other negative consequences. Today, more than ever, it is essential to create an atmosphere where open and honest conversation is the norm.

4. Prioritize workload management

Since everyone experiences different factors that impact their stress levels on any given day, teams need systems and processes to help employees prioritize tasks, delegate responsibilities, and manage their time effectively. This not only helps the employees but also benefits the team. Knowing who to call when feeling overwhelmed can give people the tools they need to handle the unexpected.

5. Foster a positive workplace culture

The vibe in a workplace can impact operations, sales, and everything in between. Organizations must cultivate a culture of respect, recognition, and appreciation. Employees should feel valued and supported to help them alleviate any adverse effects of pressure.

6. Provide training and development

Let’s face it: we are all doing what we can to keep up with the pace of change in today’s economy. Business demands can change at a moment’s notice, and our team needs the resources to meet them head-on. Investing in employee training and development programs to enhance skills, knowledge, and confidence is essential. Providing the tools and training to keep up can help mitigate the stress of feeling ill-prepared.

7. Lead by example

There’s an old saying that it all starts at the top. When it comes to creating a healthy work environment, leaders set the pace. Step one is showing team members how to take regular breaks, prioritize self-care, and support other employees. If executives and managers refuse to lead, the rest of the team will see unhealthy leader behavior as the norm.

If you read this list and feel overwhelmed, know that it is a lot to take on. As leaders, your organization needs to identify the areas that will significantly impact the company. None of this matters if it fails in the first six months. Take time to identify the needs and plan how to address them within a realistic timeline. 

If I had to pick one that I would choose, it would be prioritizing workplace well-being, but here’s the catch. You cannot even pretend to implement a plan for change if your executives are not leading by example. Determine your team’s priorities, create a plan, and start small. Whatever your team decides, remember that small changes over time result in substantial growth. This not only applies to personal growth but also to organizations.

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About Craig Booker

Craig Booker is the founder of Overflow, a community for anxiety, depression, and other mental health challenges. He is a freelance writer and mental health advocate. Craig is an Edmond native with a bachelor's degree in Business Management from the University of Central Oklahoma. He is passionate about creating a safe space where people can be authentic, knowing they will find love, acceptance, and encouragement. Craig hosts a weekly podcast called, The Overflow Podcast," where he talks about mental health and personal growth. In each episode, Craig shares practical ways to positively impact mental health.