“Stress-related health care and missed work are costing employers $300 billion a year.” (Source: Inc.com)
Some stress at work is expected, but an extended or frequent amount can impact employees’ professional performance and personal wellbeing. Since tension can manifest in different ways (headaches, stomach problems, weight gain, irritability), it’s not always outwardly recognizable. While stress management ultimately is the employee’s responsibility, there are many ways an employer can help alleviate the pressure:
- Exercise. An onsite gym adds the convenience factor for employees. Or, you could form lunch time walking groups, communicate “fit break” ideas for desk space, encourage “walking meetings,” or map out a walking route inside the building with calculated mileage.
- Sleep. Remind employees about the impact of rest on healthy brain function.
- Prioritize. Encourage an open dialogue between managers and staff to discuss conflicting assignments.
- Flexible. Employees deliver higher quality work when they’re not required to be in the office for a set amount of hours. Acknowledging that some personal matters need to occur during the work day will result in committed staff.
- Meditate. Not only is meditation “relaxing, but what scientists also are discovering is that it actually increases the amount of grey matter in the brain, essentially rewiring the body to stress less.”2 Providing a meditation room in the office may provide employees with a quiet space to reflect on work or personal matters.
- Communicate. Alerting employees frequently about company news, initiatives or transitions alleviates anxiety or speculation, which often diminishes productivity.
- Convenience. Spending many hours working leaves little time for external development. Bring learning, benefit and self-care programs inside your company to improve employee lifestyles and create informal connections.
Often the best companies to work for integrate wellness programs into their benefits package. This is not only health-related offerings (gym, flu shot, on-site massage), but also company-sponsored events that facilitate employee communication. Both provide opportunities for staff to share ideas or inspire each other in unexpected ways.
How do you reduce workplace stress?