How to Keep Employees Happy in a High Pressure Environment


Most modern jobs involve some element of stress. Software developers face the dreaded “crunch time”, where they rush to finish a project or meet a major development milestone. Sales people have to worry about making enough commission to bolster their paychecks, and customer service workers have performance targets to meet. No matter what industry you work in, there’s always some element of “perform or go home” to contend with. Coping with all of that pressure is not easy.

Happy workers are productive workers. As a small business employer, it’s your job to ensure that your employees are comfortable, content and able to perform to the best of their ability. You can do that by giving them the best tools for the job, and supporting them so that they don’t burn out or make themselves ill trying to cope with the stresses of their position. Helping your employees to minimize stress as much as possible will not only be beneficial to them but to you and your business as well. Here are a few ideas for ways to make spending time in the office more enjoyable.

Be Flexible

Every employee is different. Some people do their best work on a morning, others work better late at night. Some employees like to socialize, others work better when they’re in the zone and there are no distractions. As much as possible, allow employees to choose their own working hours and pick their working environment. As long as the employee is not working in a customer facing role, does it matter if they work 6AM to 2PM, or wear a headset in the office? Trust your employees to meet their targets, and don’t worry about micro-managing the people who are getting their jobs done.

Sometimes, especially in roles where employees must communicate with clients, it’s not always possible to offer such flexibility. Allowing your employees to take personal days could be a good alternative. This allows you to show them your appreciation and for them to wind down every now and then.

Related: Employee Surveys: A Useful Tool to Increase Business Productivity

Provide a Pleasant Working Environment

Small changes to the office can make a big difference to the people who spend eight hours a day in there. Talk to your employees to find out what they need in order to be more productive. If they ask for better lighting, more comfortable chairs, ergonomic keyboards or a left-handed mouse, try to provide that for them. It’s better to spend a little cash on updating the office than to lose hours or days of productivity to migraines, back-ache or RSI.


A happy, productive workplace is one where all of the employees feel valued and cared for.  If you ask someone for input, listen to what they have to say, and take the time to validate their concerns. If you can’t act on a suggestion, thank the person who made it for their input, and explain why you can’t help them. It’s much easier to do overtime or cope with an inconvenience if you know that there’s a good reason behind that inconvenience.

Related: A Small Business Guide to Handling Disgruntled Employees

Reward a Job Well Done

One of the leading causes of burnout is rushing from crisis to crisis (or crunch to crunch) with no breaks. At the end of a major project, or after a big sale, reward your most reliable workers with some much needed time off. If you can’t give them time off, rotate them to a slightly less stressful project for a little while, then bring them back to their normal role. Acknowledging a job well done, and making sure that people take some time to recuperate afterwards, will go a long way towards ensuring even more successful projects.

Foxhall Business Centres offer a number of services including virtual and serviced offices.


About Amy Elliott

Amy Elliott gained invaluable experience working with small businesses. She enjoys writing and likes to share her advice when she can. Amy regularly collaborates with companies like Foxhall Business Centres who offer virtual and serviced offices.