Helping employees develop stress-management skills will help them cope when busy times hit. Stress-reduction techniques can be relatively simple. "I teach people to relax and count their own breaths as they breathe deeply, for instance," says Allan Rabinowitz, owner of Stress Strategies Resources in Los Angeles. "It takes only a few second, but it works." Master that technique, and then teach it to employees for them to use when their stress levels jump off the meter.
Other proven techniques include going for a walk, engaging in some brisk exercise (such as doing 20 push-ups), meditating on your favorite vacation spot or counting down slowly from 100 to zero. People can learn to relax, and every employee should know a few relaxation techniques they can depend on in tough moments.
A good idea is to post four or five stress-busting techniques where employees can see them, such as in the break room or kitchen. Ask them to add ideas they find useful--and encourage all employees to put stress-reduction techniques into practice whenever the need arises. As in most workplace situations, communication is crucial to keeping stress in check. "If employees feel there are avenues [of communication], their stress goes down," says Venetta Campbell, a psychology professor at Mt. St. Mary's College in Los Angeles. "You can get good results just by encouraging employees to get together over a brown-bag lunch once a week to share concerns and to relate stress-management tools that work for them."
Looking for more stress-busting tips? Try http://www.jobstresshelp.com an online consulting resource developed by psychotherapist Bill DeLeno that provides loads of free information.