By Michael Zhou

Have you ever noticed how your colleague sitting just next to you also affects you with his or her vibes?

At a workstation, emotions are highly contagious. Somebody laughing profusely in good spirits also makes you laugh, while the same person if shows negativity, is quite capable to make you sad, too. Similarly, a stressed-out colleague imparts ominous and gloomy vibes to the adjacent workers. Being social animals, we humans are evolved in such a way that we tend to relate to others and, more often than not, also reflect their emotions and expressions. As a matter of fact, this urge to echo emotions in us is because of mirror neurons, which mimic the actions of others. In particular, the negative emotions like stress, anger, and sadness of other people reflexively aggravate stress response from us.

Therefore, when it comes to workplaces, the stress epidemic can prove very dangerous because it comes at a cost of lost productivity and innovation. In an office, stress negatively impacts the alertness of minds, causing wearing-off of adrenaline rush, which eventually leads to an unhappy and less productive employee. The employees who are in constant stress also have lower levels of interaction and engagement. They often remain absent from their offices, due to which the overall business of the company gets hampered.

If you are facing such a situation in your workplace, the following steps could be the key in countering stress-related trends along with increasing employee productivity at the same time:

Motivate Your Staff

As a matter of fact, employee well-being is one of the most important elements that have a big impact on the success of a business. As an employer you have to constantly motivate your staff in order to keep their stress at bay. But the question is how to motivate them so that they give their best? One way to do that is to encourage and reward them for their great work. Secondly, you can create a warm, relaxing, and welcoming environment in which every employee would like to work and excel. Thirdly, you can throw an occasional cocktail party for your staff. You can surprise them with their favorite wine bottles having personalized custom wine bottle labels wrapped around them. Fourthly, you can tell them the future prospects of their personal advancement and growth.

Introduce Interactive Activities In The Workplace

A workplace is not just about being serious all the time or involving in serious conversations with the colleagues. Such a practice is counter-productive as this type of setting is stress-prone. Studies have also shown that fun and interactive activities in a workplace make employees more innovative and productive. A great example of this philosophy can be seen in Google’s offices. There are plenty of opportunities for fun which help Google employees get out of their office and even interact more with each other. Predictably, these workers are among the lowest stressed and highest productive in the world. Similarly, you can introduced fun games in your office and allow your employees to participate in them. As a reward, they can avail various coupons and discount codes in order to save more money on shopping.

Introduce Workplace Wellness Schemes

Office is a place where a professional has to be more mentally alert, efficient, productive, and innovative so that he can contribute most towards the success of the organization. So, you can incorporate certain wellness schemes that would help your employees achieve all these above attributes. For example, exercise and healthy lifestyle can prove very effective in combating work-related stress.

Establish A Healthy Communication With Your Employees

When it comes to tackling stress and creating productivity oriented work environment, a two way communication is very important between an employer and employee. It provides a good opportunity to workers to confide with their employer or manager regarding their problems. Also, a one-on-one conversation regarding work and performance of certain employees reduces their feelings of stress and anxiety. As an employer or manager, you must listen to their predicament, ideas, and thoughts so that the core problem could be effectively addressed. Such a healthy communication will take away the worries and concerns of your employees so that they can focus on their work.

Give Your Workers Enough Space To Become Creative

A constant pressure and reproach on employees regarding work can be counter-productive for your business. Putting them on a tight rope and not allowing them to think freely will sooner or later kill their creativity and innovativeness. Moreover, such an approach will only make them feel more stress, especially at the office. Therefore, giving them more space to think freely and allowing them to make proper analyses of various aspects of a project will enhance their creativity. It will serve two purposes: they will become more competitive and productive; and will be able to manage their stress effectively.

Show Compassion And Empathy

Being compassionate and empathetic with your workers could yield fruitful results for you in the long run. According to a recent study by the University of New South Wales, it is always in the interest of an organization when the employers and leaders understand employees’ motivators, hopes, and difficulties. This approach helps them to create the right support mechanism to allow their employees to become as good as they can be. It also showed a strong link between a compassionate employer and productive employees.

Be An Example For Your Staff

If you are really looking forward to reduce stress and to make a productivity team in your workplace, it’s important you do it by yourself and lead by example. You should be the very first person not to spread negative emotions by putting a lid on them. Showing frustration, anger or stress towards your workers would go a long way to hamper your overall business. You also give time to de-stress yourself and socialize with your friends too often. You should always be positive and optimist at the workplace so that your employees should follow suit.

In today’s environment and modern work culture, stress is overwhelmingly prevalent everywhere. In offices and workplaces especially, being productive is the topmost necessity. However, more often than not, this practice is proving to be a quicksand as it is making employees more stressed and unproductive instead. Therefore, it is pertinent for the employees to incorporate certain practices and methods, as mentioned above, to counter stress and simultaneously increase productivity in the office.

Michael Zhou is the Senior VP of Business Intelligence Development, He has assisted the Fortune 1000 company with expertise in the web as a whole, including ground-zero marketing efforts that benefit both consumer and vendor. He is a thinker, communicator, marketer, competitor, people person, and all-around busy bee. He is a relentless networker with several years of real world experience and two college degrees under my belt. Michael Zhou also writes for The General Post.