Most of us have worked with various different companies in our life span. Regardless of the deadlines and targets that need to be met, there are work environments that simply thrive on stress and others that keep it to a manageable minimum. Why is that? It often relates to the culture and actions that companies take to achieve just that. Increase results but make a strong effort by taking specific actions to reduce tension. Here are some steps towards that much desired balance:
1. Identify the problem areas
The first step to helping your stressed out employees is to find out what they’re stressed about. Stress comes in many forms and is sparked by many reasons.
And while some ways of addressing stress may work across the board, there are times when you’ll need to tackle stress in more specific ways.
Are you employees overworked?
Are deadlines and responsibilities asking too much of them?
Is there a bad seed among your team that is making the workday unpleasant?
Are work expectations too high and consequences too severe?
What’s the overall atmosphere of the workplace?
Do you personally feel burned out often?
For the most part, these are questions that need to be answered by your workers. Managers may not see the issues employees face, or they may be in denial. A regular anonymous survey of your employees will give you all the insight you need. And looking at survey responses over time will tell you which areas are improving and which are not.
2. Have fun
For too long, we’ve associated work with drudgery. But work doesn’t have to be difficult or stressful, or even boring. Companies in every sector should be able to let loose once in a while. Though we can’t all have as much fun as they seem to over at Google headquarters, we can do something to bring some fun into the workplace.
The possibilities are endless: parties and celebrations for any reason, awards ceremonies, happy hour Fridays, weird hat day, formal wear dinners, summer picnics, holiday parties….. You get the idea.
To maximize the stress-relieving effects of company parties, be sure to include your employees’ families (see point #5)
3. Massage at work
None of our clients would invest on WorkWell for as long as they have if workplace massage wasn’t effective. Massage programs can serve to address many of the effects of workplace stress.
Those effects include tight muscles, physical tension, aching necks and backs, carpal tunnel syndrome, headaches, and shallow breathing. A weekly 15-minute massage can address all of those issues.
But most people know that already.
The real questions companies have about massage programs are about the cost of a program, how to set it up, and tips to organize a program for their company. If you have questions like these, we are happy to give you some guidance.
We have and we are as we ‘speak’, accumulated a lot of knowledge and experience from the best corporate source: People like you!
4. Plants, light, decor
People underestimate the impact our physical environment can have on their morale, stress levels, and productivity. When stress is high at work, try giving some attention to the light, décor, and general ambiance of the workplace.
Bring in some potted plants to help clean the air, allow personal decorations to liven up the cubical farm, and bring in table lamps instead of florescent lighting.
Also rethink your dress code. Depending on the business culture of your field, you may be able to be more lenient with your office dress code. Of course, some positions will need to stick with the tried and true professional wear, especially anyone meeting with clients, vendors, or customers on a regular basis. But for everyone else, consider if there is an opportunity to ease up on dress code restrictions.
5. Work/life balance
Lowering stress at the office might mean creating some flexibility with work schedules. There’s a reason more companies are adopting “unlimited vacation” policies and work-from-home days. The more control employees have over their own work schedule, the more they’ll enjoy their work.
Offering flex time and reducing the mandatory time you need bodies at desks can create a big impact on the company culture. As long as tasks are being completed and everyone is accessible when needed (virtually or not), work should still flow smoothly.
6. Impromptu Breaks
Encouraging more mid-day breaks will allow employees to focus better on their tasks, and will reduce burnout.
A study by DeskTime, a workplace productivity program, has shown that an optimal work-to-break ratio is the 52:17. That’s 52 minutes of dedicated focused work, followed by a 17-minute work-free break. That means no email, no creating to-do lists, nothing. This time ratio has been found to be one of the most effective for getting focused work completed.
If this kind of schedule won’t work for your company, consider other times of impromptu breaks, such as a 5-minute meditation period every couple of hours. Bring in a mindfulness coach to instruct workers on stress-relieving breathing techniques or easy meditation tips. The key is to eliminate multitasking.
7. Get people moving
Finally, keep workplace stress at bay by keeping your employees’ bodies strong, limber, and healthy.
Physical stress creates mental stress, and vice versa. You can often address one by addressing the other.
Start holding informal walks at lunchtime, hold yoga classes in the evenings after work or early in the morning, and bring in personal trainers to teach simple stretches to your employees. Offer incentives to employees who walk or bike to work and cover race fees for employees and a guest who enter a local 5k, 10k, or marathon.
We do that with our Corporate Wellness services and programs at businesses across the country.
Want to give it a try?
Simply contact us for a two hour demo with WorkWell either for On – site massage, Office Yoga and Office Pilates