How to Alleviate Stress for Your Marketing Team
Personnel Today reports that 6 out of 10 employees claim to be stressed at their job, ranking higher than all other stressors in life. Employees cite being “overworked” as the main reason they are feeling this way. With the low unemployment rate and the number of qualified applicants available for key marketing positions, this situation could get worse before it gets better.
According to that report, sales and marketing professionals are the most stressed out group, with 79 percent saying they are suffering because they are overloaded with work. As stress levels continue to rise, workloads need to be reviewed to be sure they make sense. Managing stress needs to be a top priority for any company hoping to maximize profits.
How Many Tasks Will Lead to a Burnout
Smart managers evaluate how much work a marketing employee can handle before diminishing returns set in. Since the workload fluctuates depending on a multitude of variables, it is important to be prepared to outsource some activities or risk having more mistakes made.
Calculating the optimal workload means staying on top of how long certain tasks should take. It is important to factor in extenuating circumstances like new employees, vacations, meetings and possible technological snags. Managers get in trouble when they only plan for perfect conditions where all employees are present and working at their best for eight hours a day.
Smart Insights reports that a majority of marketers say they are understaffed. Morale suffers when employees feel like they will never get caught up, and when they see no end in sight for the work overload.
Eliminating Stress for Your Marketing Team
When calculating what tasks can be completed in a typical eight-hour day, it is important to get your staff involved to get a true picture of what that looks like. Remember, breaks are necessary if you want to keep your staff happy. Employees aren’t robots, and having them work full eight hours without breaks will break them quickly.
Maintaining a healthy and happy marketing team is important from a dollars and cents viewpoint. A staff that is happy will produce more and improve the company’s bottom line. Tenfold references an article published by Farleigh Dickinson University that claims that there $200 billion is lost each year, paid to cover medical turnover, staff turnover, absenteeism, worker’s compensation, lower productivity and workers’ compensation costs.
Things to Change around the Office to Make Things Better
Providing the necessary technology to eliminate or speed up monotonous tasks is highly recommended. A majority of marketers say they love what they do, and the right software support will keep them involved in the creative tasks they love without bogging them down in the drudgery that machines can easily handle.
Stay on top of set goals so you can adjust resources or scheduling as necessary. This will take some of the pressure off staff members who are trying to meet unrealistic goals established before X, Y and Z happened to throw the schedule off. In cases where the schedule is unrealistic based on new developments, either add additional resources for getting back on track or move the scheduling back.
It is no secret that when working in an office, there are unexpected tasks that often pop up to throw everyone off track. Every request should be legitimized and added as a duty or project to add to the workload. It should also be defined with a budget and a timeline.
Additionally, the two types of tasks should be separated into two groups to show the amount of work assigned that was not originally planned and scheduled. Keeping separate logs of these activities can come in handy when it is time to make your case against additional unplanned projects assigned to your department. Workload must be strictly managed if you want to keep departmental stress to a minimum.
Managers must say “No” to too many requests before the workload becomes unbearable. This sounds simple enough, but it can be difficult for some people to put their foot down when a powerful department head or executive puts in the request. Managers who can’t say “No” when necessary will always be behind, risking more problems, increasing turnover and goals missed.
Quality of Life Changes Play a Crucial Role
Knowing how to recognize signs of stress in your employees is always a good idea so you can make adjustments and help out when necessary. Some signs of stress are subtle, others are extremely obvious. Being an empathetic and effective leader counts.
Some of the common signs of stress that are the most obvious include irritability, anger, anxiety, pacing, and sweating a lot. You can usually take the temperature of a work environment by how many arguments you have witnessed and whether people are losing their temper a lot. Granted some might lose their temper regularly, but when your calmer and more subdued, level-headed team members start arguing, then you’ve got a serious problem.
Another way some people respond to stress is they become confused. When one of your top performing marketers suddenly starts falling behind, you know they are feeling the pressure.
Meltdowns are usually visible and preventable. Sooner or later if you load a conscientious person down with too much responsibility, they will have a breakdown. The way you prevent this type of disaster is to check in regularly with your team to be sure they are doing okay and that they aren’t overwhelmed.
Managers can do a lot to calm things down and lessen the stress. While not every stress buster technique is appropriate for the workplace, many techniques can be incorporated into the mix. For instance, classical music has been found to lower stress levels. Even so, check with your team before instigating this change, as some might find it distracting too.
Taking breaks to go for a walk or get some exercise is also a proven strategy for helping people relax. While it might not be practical to move your business to a building with a gym, encouraging a stressed-out employee to take a break can help significantly when the stress seems to be getting to them.
Leaders can help restore balance in a tough working environment. Reframing problems that arise will help coach your team. By choosing the right words and tone, you can let your employees know that you are there to help them, not to judge, expecting the impossible.
Interjecting a sense of humor can work miracles. When the sky is falling, you’re the one that needs to make that joke, laughing as you say it. Everything is solvable if you keep your head.
Leaders who care about their employees recognize the importance stress plays in a company’s health. Much like a sports team, marketing teams need a leader who will be clear about expectations and then give them the tools and training they need to be successful.
Marketing teams are feeling the stress these days as they try and keep up with a volatile business landscape steeped in overnight algorithm changes, technological innovation and other important developments that make “change” the only constant. The good news is that smart marketing managers can shape the work environment to leverage the upside of current times and minimize stress levels.