Every year, over 12.8 million working days are lost because of workplace stress. 8 in 10 professionals admitted to suffering work-related stress in 2020, rising by 20% in just two years. And while employees had pandemic pressures to contend with, even in normal circumstances, tension levels have become a major wellbeing issue.

April marks Stress Awareness Month, raising awareness of the critical impact that the mental pressures of modern professional life are placing on people. Many employers have responded to rising stress by launching cultural initiatives, such as free meditation app subscriptions and company-funded exercise programmes. One US legal firm even announced that it’s factoring holiday into billable hours, to encourage staff to take a break.

But are there more practical steps you could be taking to reduce work-related stress?

For most staff, the biggest source of stress is the job itself. But no amount of deep breathing and yoga will change the pressures of their role. To truly transform people’s wellbeing, you need to manage their time and workload better, and this is best achieved through shift planning and task management software.

Want to know more? Here are 6 ways that task planning technology can reduce employee anxiety:

1. Creating a manageable work schedule for everybody

We tend to think of shift planning platforms as a tool for organisations with non-traditional hours, such as shops, hospitals, factories and hospitality venues. While these enterprises are pioneers, the flexible working movement is increasing the business case for scheduling software in businesses that used to be 9-5.

Working from home with flexible hours is great for work/life balance – but if you’re not keeping an eye on people’s schedules, they can often put in more time than needed. Recent research revealed that employees do more than £4,700 hours of unpaid overtime every single year.

Even within traditionally shift-based businesses, there’s a growing emphasis on the impact of night work on employee burnout.

Shift planning technology allows your business to be agile, while ensuring everybody’s schedule is manageable. And nobody is going wildly beyond their contracted hours.

2. Getting resourcing levels right round-the-clock

Whether you’re in a shift-based environment or embracing flexible working, different people are working at different times. If you’re unwittingly under-resourcing certain times or days, it increases the stress placed on those who are on duty.

Shift planning software enables you to plan the perfect people mix round-the-clock, by setting rules around the skills, certifications and seniority required at every point in time.

Using an online scheduling system makes it easy to manage this set-up, as the software will flag when a shift is under-staffed. And you can create different requirements based on peaks in customer demand.

3. Ensuring an even workload distribution

Getting the right number of people in place is a huge step towards lowering employee stress levels. However, tension and anxiety can still be created if some people are working flat-out, while others are coasting along.

Standard staff scheduling technology may only allow your business to set shift patterns and share rosters with your workforce. To truly tackle workplace stress, you need to look for software that includes a task management feature, so you can assign a fair and equal number of duties to each person per day or shift.

4. Playing to everyone’s strengths

Another advantage of managing workload through task planning technology is that your team leaders can identify the best person to do each job. And the more people excel, the more likely they are to feel happy and motivated in their role.

While some duties can be completed by anyone – it’s just a case of assigning the right number of people at the right time – other tasks require specialist skills. Through shift planning software, you can record the strengths and qualifications of every employee, making sure that you only select people with the right competencies for complex or advanced tasks.

5. Clocking time off as well as time on

Hard working team members need time off to recharge their batteries. But many professionals are guilty of prioritising work and not taking enough annual leave.

If you’re seeing the business case for a digital shift planner, make sure you choose a solution with an in-built holiday calendar, as this will allow you to track time off alongside ‘time on’.

Managing staff holiday online supports lower workplace stress in two ways.

Firstly, you can keep a close eye on how much holiday each person has taken, identifying any workers who aren’t using their allocated leave.

Secondly, planning leave centrally makes it easier to give people the holiday they want, without it leading to shortages in your schedule. This is particularly useful for planning peak holiday seasons like summer, to make sure people’s time off doesn’t place too much burden on those who are still working.

6. Filling the gaps when something goes wrong

However carefully you plan your schedule and allocate tasks, sometimes things don’t go according to plan. Sudden surges in customer demand, employee sick leave and operational issues can throw even the most orderly schedules out of sync.

Shift planning software will help you to manage unexpected obstacles, so they don’t place extra pressure on hard working staff. For example, if there’s a hole in the schedule due to someone being signed off sick, you can send an email notification to available team members with similar skills to see if anyone wants to earn overtime by filling the gap.

Sort staff stress with WhosOffice shift planning software

Stress is a serious problem in the modern working environment, and investing in a good shift planning and task management platform will enable your business to set-up operations in a way that minimises the mental burden placed on staff.

WhosOffice is a sophisticated, user-friendly shift planning platform that allows companies to plan shifts online and set task lists for every team member. From built-in holiday planners to sharing open shift opportunities, we’ve thought of every feature you’ll need to create a smoothly run, minimal stress environment.

Book your free WhosOffice trial to start reducing stress in your workplace.

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