Stress: the motivation killer – This is how to create a motivating environment for your employees

A motivating environment is essential to a successful organization. It is the basis for a motivated team that applies its abilities, knowledge and dedication on behalf of the company. If, on the other hand, a motivating corporate and leadership culture is missing, it leads to overload, stress and in the worst cases to burn-out and absences.

Everyone knows the situation: stress and overload, a difficult boss or differences with colleagues and all one wants to do is throw in the towel. Each of us knows difficult days at work. It only becomes problematic if the heavy atmosphere continues and there are no prospects of an improvement ahead. However, instead of giving notice or looking for another solution, we withdraw into ourselves. In the worst case, we become ill. What we need is good work organization and respect within the team. If a good balance of these two aspects is not present, the consequence can be demotivation on the part of employees as well as health problems.

How can you as a manager or a responsible team member ensure that it does not come to that in your team? We have put together a number of questions for you to answer. Whether as a boss or team member, everyone can play his or her part in contributing to a motivating working atmosphere.

1/ Are you a good role model?

How can one expect employees to aim for a good work-life balance, if one sets a negative example? Each member of a team generates a positive or negative dynamic depending on how he or she deals with the balance between work and free time. It is important to note: actions speak louder than words. There is little point in preaching work-life balance if one doesn’t practice it oneself.

Tip for managers: Whether hobbies, sports, friends or family: lead the way by setting a good example and do something in your free time that makes you happy and allows you to tank up on energy.

2/ Do you work with realistic goals?

Whether with individual employees, within the team or across the whole company: goals represent an important prerequisite for effective time management. Target agreements are an excellent planning and organizational instrument. For your targets to achieve their optimal effect these need to be SMART: S – specific, M – measurable, A – achievable, R – relevant/realistic, T – timebound

Tip for managers: Formulate clear targets together with your employees and check their relevance regularly.

3/ Are the volume and demands of the work realistic?

Are you aware of the demands and volume of work in your team? Fro outside it is not always easy to assess the distribution of work and the capacity to carry it out. It is worth, however, taking a closer look. If the demands of the job match the capabilities of your team, they can take a confident and engaged approach to their work. If they do not match, however, the result is overload or too little challenge. Both can lead to stress and have a demotivating effect over time. Stress, too, can in the worst case develop into a psychological disorder such as depression or burn-out. Physical disorders like high blood pressure, arrhythmias, gastrointestinal disorders and diabetes can also result from overload and long-term stress.

Tip for managers: check the work and function description of your employees on a regular basis as well as how they perceive their workload.

For the sake of your team: check your knowledge of work organization

Would you like to extend your knowledge of motivating working conditions? Just turn to the FCOS Learning module on «Work Organization».

4/ Is the corporate culture lived?

It is alarming how many employees do not know what the company in which they work on a daily basis stands for. Does your company have a clear vision and concrete corporate targets? If so, are your employees aware of them? This is a question that cannot be overemphasized because if employees can identify with the vision and goals, their work takes on greater meaning, which in turn promotes motivation.

Tip for managers: Promote your corporate culture and values through clear and understandable communication of the company’s mission statement. Make every effort to see that it is systematically applied.

5/ How attractive are the working arrangements of your employees?

A high degree of freedom to take decisions and responsibility is both challenging and encouraging. Employees who can schedule and organize their own work are more motivated and better prepared to deal with pressure and stressful situations.

Flexible working hours also allow employees more scope and increase work satisfaction.

Tip for managers: Give your employees as much freedom as possible to organize their work. Allow them to follow their own way of working and flexible working hours.

6/ How about cooperation and communication within the team?

Employers can achieve a great deal by offering a helping hand along with open and respectful communication. A part of open communication is addressing conflict within the team early on. And its pays off: a good team can achieve the exceptional and excel. In contrast, a poor team acts as a brake on productivity and disrupts the working atmosphere. It jeopardizes the company as well as the health of the members in the team. Ongoing criticism and complaints lead to insecurity and stress.  A few words of praise and appreciation at the right moment, on the other hand, have a very positive effect.

Tip for managers: Is there  a problem in the team? Address it proactively. And don’t forget: praise is a great motivator!

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