- Posted by Jon Harju
- On September 13, 2019
Today’s modern, integrated work life can offer employees the perk of increased flexibility, but when an email comes through at 9 pm, it can feel impossible not to hit reply.
Workplace stress levels are skyrocketing — impacting personal health, employee engagement and the ability for employees to function at their best. It’s little surprise that 80% of U.S. employees feel stress on the job, nearly half say they need help learning how to manage stress, and 42% say their coworkers need help to do so, too.
Organizations have an opportunity to be intentional about creating a mentally healthy workplace culture — one that empowers employees to set the right workplace boundaries that are foundational for effective stress management.
4 ways to empower your team to set and keep healthy workplace boundaries
1) Start a workplace conversation about workload and time management. It’s important to be clear about the goals and expectations of projects, but if someone feels overwhelmed, they need to feel safe asking for help or indicating what resources they need to be successful.
2) Encourage your team to take time away from their desk to recharge, i.e. lunch breaks (preferably together) and/or regular ‘power’ breaks (i.e. a walk around the block, a trip to the coffee shop, time outdoors). These moments away from the desk and daily stressors, give employees a chance to regroup, clear their heads and be in a better space to tackle the rest of their day.
3)Reinforce that leaving work (or logging off) at a reasonable hour is the expectation (and, not just for employees with family commitments). This will help your team members create boundaries that protect their personal time, energy levels, health and happiness. For employees who consistently work long hours (in the office or at home), provide some guidance on why it’s important to take down time and how they can start building it in to their daily schedule.
4)As a leader, role model healthy work boundaries to reinforce and validate the mentally healthy work culture. For example:
- Open communication about your family commitments, extracurricular activities, and/or hobbies
- End the work day at a reasonable hour; and taking the weekends off for personal time
- Take vacations
- Have discretion when you need to work after hours so that it doesn’t set a precedent for your team. For example, if you’re sending a non-urgent email after-hours, schedule it to be delivered the next business day.
Setting workplace boundaries is good for you employees’ mental health
Having reasonable workplace boundaries gives employees permission and space to focus on their personal life, self-care and enjoy non-work activities, passions or hobbies. This balance will help build the resiliency they need to face the inevitable moments of stress. And, when that happens, they will have the ability to navigate through it so they can function at their very best.
Book a demo of the Snapclarity virtual mental healthcare platform to see how it will transform your employees’ experience.