We all love growth; whether in the form of education, physicality, or even monetary. Entrepreneurs love growth too, but on a whole different scale.
While growth is a wonderful thing (not only for our bank accounts, but for our lives as a whole), it tends to drag along its best friend named Stress.
Stress can be a great friend in the form of motivation, but often times it prefers to be a dead weight on your shoulder. This is the difference between eustress and distress. Eustress is good stress and can often act as a motivator, such as an incentive to meet a deadline. Distress arrives just as Stress becomes unbearable.
Business growth and stress go hand in hand; a tortuous combination with no detection of light at the end of the tunnel. As a business owner, you are not the sole keeper of stress. It transcends directly to your hardworking employees.
While your business builds, you feel proud of your amazing accomplishment, but at the same time you feel like:
Our company is growing too, so we feel your
pain frustration. We’re taking on more and more work, which is a great thing! Yet, that ultimately puts more pressure (and therefore, stress) on our employees. We’ve implemented a few tactics to reduce stress, improve productivity, and continue growing our company at the same time.
You need to continue growing your business, but you and your employees shouldn’t be smothered by stress in the process. Find a stress elimination solution that works for you and your employees.
1) Find Time to be Creative
In our industry, creativity is key. Without it, we can’t function or provide our clients with the best result. However, when you automate processes, increase workloads, and introduce new offerings, creativity can slip to the side.
Did you know that 75% of people believe they are not living up to their creative potential?
This can lead to unhappiness at work and throughout life. Find time and opportunities for your employees to be creative regardless of their department. Creativity time doesn’t need to mean coloring with markers, crayons and construction paper. It could include brainstorming, determining solutions, or whatever exercise/process makes sense for your industry.
You don’t have to go to the gym at 4:00am every day. Whoever decided this was the universal trick to productivity and less stress didn’t take night owls into consideration.
As the Greatist states, more than 1/3 of American employees suffer from chronic work stress, which leads to a mountain of medical complications, bills and an unproductive employee overall. It’s as awful as it sounds.
No matter how you choose to exercise (I see you spandex wearing, roller blading champs), your body will release the endorphins needed to release stress and pump you up!
3) Calm, Quiet Breaks
Growing businesses require a lot of communication and collaboration. This leads to constant noise, which can stress out those who prefer to work in peace. Specify an area where employees can take a peaceful break and regain their focus. If your employees prefer, meditation breaks could also be a useful tactic to reduce stress.
4) Remember What You Can and Cannot Control
Your business is growing and you will face challenges along the way. Many of these challenges will be out of your control and it will be frustrating. So frustrating that you’ll want to pull out your hair and throw things. While it’s easier said than done, focus on the goal ahead instead of the uncontrollable challenges. You’ll find greater success and far less stress this way.
5) Allow Your Employees to Work When and Where They Function Best
Personally, I work better at my favorite coffee shop with a cup of bold, dark roast coffee on hand. I can handle a bit of ambient noise, but I prefer to listen to purely instrumental music while working. On the contrary, our Creative Director needs to work at night, in dark lighting, with complete silence. Sometimes she even prefers to work while walking or moving.
Allowing employees to work when and where they function best will only lead to top quality work and success. Your company won’t grow if your employees aren’t working their best.
6) Think Objectively Rather Than Subjectively
Entrepreneurs have a large stake in the success of the company, naturally. Due to this connection, it is all too easy to make rash decisions based on emotions or your mood. Choosing to make decisions and act objectively will be better for your company and stress levels in the end.
This goes for you too, employees! When the deadlines start approaching and your tasks start piling up, it is possible to start feeling negative and even depressed. This thinking will only lead to inviting your terrible friend named Stress into your life.
7) “Be The Change You Want to See in The World” — Mahatma Gandhi
You won’t eliminate stress if you sit back and wait. If something in the office is causing you to experience stress, figure out a way to change it. Otherwise, as your business grows, so will your amount of unhealthy stress.
Don’t wait for the stress to magically go away. Think of stress as that friend who was only supposed to stay on your couch for a few days, and is still there three months later. You have to step up and be the change!
8) Remember What Your Priorities Are
Whether you’re an entrepreneur or an employee, you need to have priorities. Remember these priorities throughout the day, and don’t sweat the small stuff. Is a single typo on the annual report really going to be the end of the world? No, don’t worry about it! If your entire annual report reads like a kindergartener wrote it, then you can worry.
Good luck trying to grow your business if you constantly fret about every little last problem.
9) Listen to Understand, Not to React
Are you the type of person who is constantly formulating your next sentence? You’re not alone, as humans tend to listen for the sake of reacting rather than understanding. If we’re formulating our thoughts while the other person is talking, no true communication occurs.
Communication can either be the key to company growth, or the root of stress. Listening is the key to ensuring that you understand all that is going on and can alleviate stress as much as possible.
10) Hire Wisely
Congratulations, your company is growing. Now you need people to complete the work. Remember, hiring solely out of necessity is not a wise choice. You’ll end up hiring individuals who don’t jive with your culture, which will bring your current employees down, increase stress levels, and create a terrible situation for all involved.
Hire employees who understand your company’s trajectory, are ready to get on board with a growing business, and fit well with your culture.
11) Team Building and Stress Eliminating Activities
Chances are, when one employee is stressed, your entire team is too. Schedule time in your hectic schedule for team building and other fun activities. It sounds cheesy, but go play laser tag, take the team out for lunch, have a day where you work from a coffee shop, anything to eliminate the possibility of stress! In addition to warding off stress, your employees will get to know one another more and become an unstoppable team.
12) What Do Your Employees Think?
You are not the only one that is stressed! Let your employees voice their ideas, thoughts, and opinions — maybe they have an idea on how to eliminate much of the stress for the entire office. By allowing their voices to be heard and considered, employees feel more engaged at work. In fact, companies with engaged employees outperform those without by up to 202%!
13) Don’t Forget Your End Goal
Entrepreneurs — never forget your goal. Keep working towards it! A little bit of good stress, known as eustress, is fine. Once that stress starts getting out of control, it’s time to take action.
Employees — what’s your end goal with this growing company? Are you working towards a promotion? Perhaps you’re excited to be on the ground floor of a brand new influential product or service. No matter what your goal is, work towards it. If you keep a motivated stance, you’ll have no problem eliminating stress.
14) Keep a Positive Attitude
It’s easier said than done, I know. However, a negative outlook on work or life will lead directly to overwhelming stress. You’ll hate your job and be stressed out every time the phone rings.
You won’t simply become positive overnight (unless forced against your will, of course). Here’s where that whole be the change you want to see deal comes back into play. You won’t start being positive, until you start being positive. No one will force you, except that pesky friend named Stress.
Remember: You’re Doing a Great Job
Your business is growing! Go on and celebrate that. It’s an accomplishment that few have achieved, and you did it.
Keep up the good work, but keep the stress far away. No matter how you prefer to eliminate stress in your life or in the workplace, just make sure you do it!