Recent Trends in Human Resource Management

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Reducing Worker Stress During Turbulent Economic Times

Reducing Worker Stress During Turbulent Economic Times

These are stressful times, particularly for those who work in restaurants and hospitality establishments. Customer expectations are up, while tips are down. Yet workers must continue to provide exceptional service, even as staffs are sliced and diced. Here is what you need to know in order to significantly reduce the stress level in your workplace.

People have different ways of handling the shaky economy. Some people run around the organization informing everyone the sky is falling, while others hide behind the bar hoping the pink slips will land in someone else's station. Both of these scenarios do nothing to keep your establishment on course, which is exactly what must occur if you are to weather this economic storm. Here are seven tips on what you can do to reduce employee stress in turbulent economic times:

1. Provide your employees with opportunities to share their immediate concerns. You may be thinking, "But what if I don't have an immediate response to their concern?" That's okay. Let them speak and just listen. The simple act of stating fears out loud is often enough to calm people down so they can be productive again.

2. Keep the lines of communication open. Do not wait for the office grapevine to strangle your company. Instead, be proactive. Let employees know how your organization is doing financially. Seek input on ways to improve revenues and decrease expenses. Empowered employees, who feel like they are making a contribution, are much more productive than those who are waiting around for the ax to fall.

3. Focus on providing value and exceptional service. When the economy gets bumpy, companies tend to react by reducing services. If history repeats itself, there will be plenty of opportunities for customer- focused organizations to pick up new clients who appreciate the attention. By focusing on the positive, you will alleviate the negative thoughts that create a stressful work environment.

4. Give your employees a break. Whenever possible, try to schedule consecutive days off so they have time to rejuvenate their bodies and their minds.

5. Lighten up. The last thing people need in their lives right now is a boss who keeps riding them. Explain what needs to get done and appropriate timelines, provide the resources and allow your employees have some control over their workload.

6. Look for ways to make the rushes go smoother. Can you cross train people so they can help out in a pinch? Is the manager willing and able to fill in when you are down an employee or two?

7. Set the example. Take up meditation, yoga or running to blow off some of the steam that is bound to accumulate during this stressful time and encourage your staff to do the same.By following these tips, you will be able to alleviate stress in your workplace, while maintaining a sense of balance during these crazy times.

Ref: Roberta Chinsky Matuson

About the Author:

Roberta Chinsky Matuson is the President of Brookline, Massachusetts based Human Resource Solutions ( and has been helping companies align their people assets with their business goals. She is considered an expert in generational workforce issues. Roberta publishes a monthly newsletter "HR Matters" which is jammed with resources, articles and tips to help companies navigate through sticky and complicated HR workforce issues. She can be reached at 413-582-1840 or

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