Stress Management for Healthcare Organizations: Strategies to Get Through the Hassles of an Accredit
Your organization might not think about how much stress it’s causing its employees. But if you’re operating in an environment that’s subject to external audits, peer review, and accreditation surveys, you’ll want to take steps to reduce stress in the workplace. Addressing workplace stress will increase employee engagement and morale, which will likely have a ripple effect on other parts of your organization. If you’re a healthcare organization, you’re probably well aware of the added pressures of being an industry leader. A recent study found that nearly half of healthcare leaders have considered leaving their jobs in the last two years.
What is workplace stress?
Stress is a natural and predictable response to difficult situations. But when stress becomes a problem, it can have negative effects on both the workplace and the person who experiences the stress. Stress at work can lead to burnout, affecting both the person who “has” the stress and those around them. Research has shown that the people who are closest to a stressed-out person are often the ones who end up experiencing the negative effects of stress themselves.
Strategies for managing workplace stress
Managing workplace stress requires a holistic and balanced approach. You can’t just focus on one or two things to reduce stress and expect results. Here are some strategies to get you started:
Adopt a stress-management plan: This should be the foundation of your stress-management strategy. Your plan should be based on the research that’s been done on effective stress-management strategies. Identify what causes stress for your organization and your employees and come up with ways to reduce those things.
Invest in your employees: Provide quality training and development opportunities so that your employees can learn how to reduce their stress on their own. This will take some of the pressure off of you to manage every little aspect of their lives so that they have the energy to focus on the job.
Make time for breaks: Every period of stress requires a recovery period. Find ways to pause and recharge your batteries so that you’re ready to tackle the next stressful situation. This might mean taking a short lunch break or scheduling regular “me time” throughout the day.
Don’t underestimate the power of a simple gesture
Sometimes the smallest actions have the biggest effects. A recent study found that simply acknowledging the stressors your employees face can reduce their stress by up to 30%. You have the power to change how your employees feel about what’s causing their stress. So instead of doing nothing, why not try one of these simple, low-cost ways to reduce stress:
Hold a stress-management summit in your staff meeting: Schedule a 15-minute meeting where you focus only on stress and how your employees are handling it. You can share resources and find ways to destress together.
Send a destress-inducing email: Creating an email “prescription” for your employees will give you an easy way to destress and reach them at the same time. Include topics such as the importance of taking breaks, the benefits of healthy eating, or the importance of gratitude.
Make time for a peer-to-peer destress session: Having a “me time” isn’t just for celebrities and supermodels. Sending an email or sitting down with a colleague and talking through your issues is a quick, low-cost way to destress.
Organize and prioritize
Do you have multiple projects or tasks competing for your attention? If so, you’re probably experiencing what’s known as “work overload.” Work overload is a common source of stress for professionals because it can make it difficult to focus on what really matters. Overloaded professionals often try to “multitask” their way out of their overload by checking several things off their to-do list at once. But research shows that this doesn’t work, and that trying to do too many things at once actually makes us less efficient.
Stress can take a hefty toll on both your physical and mental health. If you’re experiencing stress at work, it can feel like there’s no relief in sight. But you’re not alone. Stress affects people differently. Even though you might be experiencing it, you don’t have to carry the burden of stress by yourself. There are ways to reduce stress, and even ways to turn stress into motivation by flipping your thinking around. Now is the time to take control of your stress and manage it to get the most out of your work life.