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Stress in the workplace is far from a new concept, but an increasing number of employees believe it’s necessary to be overworked to feel like they’re doing a good job. Sixty-five percent of people are stressed about work, according to the 2015 Stress in America Survey, conducted by the American Psychological Association.

Generally speaking, millennials are more stressed than anyone. Results of the APA survey revealed 45 percent of this generation experienced a rise in stress from 2014 to 2015, compared with 39 percent of Gen Xers and 25 percent of baby boomers.

Stress can have a slew of unpleasant side effects for employers — increased absenteeism, decreased productivity, low levels of job satisfaction, high levels of turnover, etc. — so it’s in your best interest to help your team relax. Since work is one of the main causes of stress, you can make a huge difference in the lives of your employees.

4 Ways to Reduce Employee Stress

  1. Encourage People to Take Vacation Days

In the past, employees couldn’t wait to take vacations, but things have changed. A shocking 55 percent of Americans failed to use up all their vacation time in 2015, according to The State of American Vacation 2016 report from Project: Time Off. Management has a lot to do with this, as nearly six in 10 of those surveyed reported a lack of support from their boss when they requested PTO.

If this is happening at your company, you need to make a change — and fast. Instead of guilting people for taking vacation days, they need to be reminded they’ve earned these days and should enjoy them.

  1. Stop Contacting Staffers Outside Work Hours

Sometimes emergencies happen during off-hours and you need to reach employees. However, most of your after-hour calls, texts and emails probably don’t pertain pressing matters. People need to decompress away from the office, so think twice before contacting them on their own time.

  1. Evaluate Employee Workloads

Even your best employees are only human, so there are limits to the amount of work they can complete each day. If your team frequently puts in overtime, take a closer look at what’s on their plates. Constantly giving people more work than they can handle will quickly take a toll. Hire additional staff or scale back a bit and give your dedicated staffers a reasonable workload that won’t push them to the brink.

  1. Regular Team-Bonding Events

All work and no play creates a culture that breeds stress. Avoid this by gathering your team at regular intervals to let loose and have a bit of fun together. It doesn’t matter if you head out to lunch as a group, host weekly in-office happy hours or invite everyone to your house for a barbeque, as long as no work talk is involved.

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