For most workers today, job-related stress is having a significant impact on how they work, and if they stay at their jobs. The American Institute of Stress found that 40 percent of workers felt that their job was very or extremely stressful, and a 2018 survey found that 25 percent of workers in America and the UK quit their jobs due to stress.
Stress is something we all experience. However, prolonged interactions with it in an environment where stressful work situations (ex. long hours, high workload, and a hostile work environment) are unsuccessfully managed will lead to frequent health-related call-outs, or a decision to leave the position altogether.
So, what can you do, and is it possible for you to do anything? The answer is yes! There are practices and services you can put in place to not only decrease those turnover numbers but to also help yourself and your staff better manage stress. So, we invite you to read on for five services you can offer workers—and yourself—to help manage day-to-day stress.
Promote Physical Activity and Wellness
Exercise has been shown to alleviate stress, and making physical activity accessible at your dealership is a great way to tackle work-related anxiety and stress. You can encourage staff to take “walk-breaks” where they take 15 to 20 minutes to walk in an adjacent area with other co-workers. You can also subsidize gym memberships or coordinate routine physical activity events outside of work such as participating in a charity walk or company-sponsored bike ride. Not only does this encourage health and wellness, but it also allows your staff to do these things together.
Coordinate Social Activities
Healthy workplace relationships can also help to ward off feelings of stress associated with isolation or poor collaboration. So, create a workplace environment that fosters camaraderie and trust. You can do this by sponsoring a weekly or bi-weekly catered lunch that brings employees together in one common area. Another great way to cultivate social bonds is to hold team activities. These can be in the form of volunteer projects, team building events, or a potluck.
Have an Area for Quiet Time
Today’s office spaces are open concept. However, while these areas can promote communication, it can also make employees feel as if they do not have the privacy to decompress or slow down their thoughts. So, create a space at your dealership where employees can go to get through the stress of the day. This location could be a break room, an outdoor area with seating, or a conference room. Whatever it is, make it clear that when employees need to take a breath, there is a designated area for them to do so.
Offer Counseling Services
The American Institute of Stress found that of the 80 percent of employees who feel stress on the job, half need help in learning to manage it. So, it’s not a bad idea to offer either onsite or distance counseling. There are a variety of onsite workplace counseling groups you can use. However, if you are looking for something a bit more convenient and affordable, there are distance-based counseling services that can be done over the phone or on video chat. An excellent tool to look into is Joyable, an app that provides one-on-one stress and anxiety-related coaching. Buffer, a social media software company, offers the service to employees to help them manage stress and improve their mental health.
Have a Remote Work Policy and Reduce Hours
At the end of the day, while your employees want to do the absolute best for you that they can, spending time with their loved ones is a priority. Allowing more time for this alone can help to reduce stress. So, see about instituting a remote work policy. Specify how many days employees can work from home, the tools they need to use, and how you will assess if they are still meeting goals and objectives. On the other hand, if remote work is not possible for some professions, be sure to reduce hours when you can. Jim Ziegler, CEO of Ziegler Systems and a former dealership salesperson and sales manager, discusses his techniques for decreasing staff hours:
“When dealers ask me how to reduce turnover, I always tell them to reduce hours, increase staff, and divide them into three teams. But I’m not flooding the floor. I want to reduce the hours per team — including the manager of that team, closers, and everybody in the variable departments. The new schedule includes some nights off and one weekend a month off, mandatory.”
Stress is going to be a factor. Whenever we have to meet expectations or exceed goals, there is the worry that we won’t get there, and this, in turn, creates feelings of stress in our work lives. However, there are ways to disrupt the impact of stress while empowering your workforce to do their absolute best. Observe your team and see where they are the most stretched thin. From there, you can develop a tailored strategy to help them overcome stress and stay with your dealership for the long haul.