One of the buzz terms you may have heard surrounding business operation and management is strategic planning. Strategic planning refers to a way in which employers optimize the productivity of their business by establishing priorities, focusing resources, and analyzing current trends within and outside of the work environment to best reach common goals and continue growth.
In order to build a proper strategic planning model, it’s key to prioritize the well-being of employees, as well as their relationships with each other. After all, about 2.5 million Americans leave their jobs each month, and it costs on average $3,500 to replace an employee earning $8 an hour. In other words, employee turnover can become very expensive. Therefore, it behooves businesses to invest in programs that focus on employee conflict resolution, executive coaching, and stress management. The cost of losing so many employees far outweighs the cost of developing ways to maintain a healthy work environment that rewards growth and productivity.
But how exactly does an employer tackle stress in the workplace, which leads to an average of 1 million American workers missing work daily? By implementing some form of these three techniques into a strategic planning model, businesses can significantly decrease stress levels among employees, and foster a more productive work environment.
1) Livening up the Work Environment and Atmosphere
One of the biggest hindrances to a productive work environment is an uncomfortable or dull atmosphere. This is partially why people who work in cubicles do everything they can to personalize their space with photos, trinkets, aromas, and more. But sometimes the individual effort to improve a drab work atmosphere isn’t enough to mask the overall gloom of the workplace. This is where employers should do what they can to make the office more lively, inviting, and inspiring. This can be done in several ways, including an overhaul in color scheme, adding photographs of employees and employers, and hanging relevant motivation posters.
Beyond a mere aesthetic makeover, the workplace can be further brightened by a shift in attitude on behalf of all employers and employees. A larger emphasis on shared goals, collaboration, and equality can do wonders to brighten the aura of a workplace. And the more that employees feel comfortable and important in their environment, the less stressed and more productive they will be.
2) Leaving Room for Proper Breaks
Everyone needs a break. This is why lunch breaks and coffee breaks have become staples of the workplace. Studies have overwhelmingly shown that a proper break during the workday increases productivity and reduces stress. Some companies in the U.S. are even taking cues from other countries and changing up the way breaks are taken during the day.
For instance, nap breaks are perhaps the next revolution of the workplace. Nearly half of Americans claim they don’t get enough sleep at night. Not getting the proper amount of sleep can be detrimental to one’s focus and productivity during the day. Lack of sleep is also correlated to increased stress levels. By providing the time and space for employees to take power naps (20 to 45 minutes) during the work day, stress can be greatly reduced and employees are more likely to tackle the rest of the day with force.
3) Providing Freedom and Flexibility
While this method can’t apply to all jobs or work environments, certain employers might consider allowing their employees the freedom to work from home or somewhere outside the office. With more work relying on internet connectivity and internet being more accessible than ever before, the need for office space is shrinking by the day. If employers trust their employees to get their work done outside the office, they can provide their employees the freedom to choose the work atmosphere of their liking. For instance, many people can do their work at their favorite coffee shop with internet access. Others can simply work from home more efficiently than they could at the office or elsewhere.
Allowing for remote work also reduces the need for employees to commute every day, which can be expensive and stress-inducing on its own. Employers that compensate their employees for commuting can cut this cost entirely by letting them work from home or closer to home.
Reducing employee stress might be one of the most vital aspects of strategic planning in the long run.