Unfortunately for many of us, stress has become an unwelcome part of everyday life and if often something we simply can’t avoid.
So much so in fact, that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has now deemed it a hazard of the workplace. While small amounts of stress can actually be beneficial at keeping your employees on their toes and working to the best of their abilities, too much of it can cause anxiety, depression, and reduced productivity.
As an employer, keeping the stress levels of your workforce to a minimum is a vital part of employee care, but one that is often overlooked. This can lead to your workforce looking to alcohol as a method of coping with stress, however alcohol can actually compound the problem. Promoting wellness and healthy ways to manage stress doesn’t need to be as complicated as you might think. Here are some quick and easy stress relief activities you can promote to your workforce.
How to create a less stressful work environment:
- Build a strong team with a culture of supporting one another
- Encourage physical exercise
- Plan ahead to ensure a balanced workload
- Create a nice workspace to be in
- Allow employees to take on passion projects
Building strong relationships
Having a strong social network in the workplace can help employees to de-stress and feel supported throughout the working day. These kinds of friendships can not only provide a buffer to many of the workplace stress factors but can also give employees a friendly face to talk to and share their problems with.
Having stable relationships with co-workers allows your employees to discuss stressful topics without having to hold back because the person they are talking to is a manager or member of HR. They are more able to be themselves. Additionally, it creates a culture of compassion from management which can help to remove any negative pressures and improves communication.
In order to encourage these relationships to form, here are some ideas you can try:
- Try to limit time spent on smartphones. You don’t want to instigate any kind of restrictions in this area, but encouraging employees to look away from their phone screens as much as possible can help them to communicate more effectively with others in the office.
- Create a “buddy” system. When you have a new employee join the ranks, pairing them up with an existing member of staff can help to combat some of the initial awkwardness of trying to build new inter-office relationships.
Ever heard of the phrase ‘laughter is the best medicine'? Laughing, even in small doses can help to relieve stress and allows people to bond. By making time for the team to get together for a laugh and a joke, you allow for friendships to strengthen and employees can relax.
Engaging in physical activities
Getting more physical exercise in our daily lives can help to keep stress under control. Exercise is naturally mood-boosting and can do wonders to work out all the pent up stress and anxiety we feel in our day-to-day lives. As an employer, you are in an excellent position to help your employees get in the 30 minutes of physical activity they need every day.
Running different physical activities through the workplace can also help to encourage building those relationships we talked about. Here are some simple and easy ideas you can implement in your office:
- Incorporate active desks. Being sedentary for eight hours a day is more detrimental to our health than many believe. There are a number of products out there now that can help to transform your employee's desks into standing desks, or even walking desks to help them get in some exercise without leaving their work.
- Launch wellness challenges. By making health and wellness into a challenge can spark the competitive spirit that’s lurking just below the surface of many of your employees. These can take the form of step challenges or giving up alcohol (like with our OYNB programme). As long as they have an incentive to take part and someone to share it with, it can help de-stress and boost morale.
One of the main factors for workplace stress is not being able to keep on top of your workload. The feeling of being overwhelmed can strike at many moments throughout the day and leave us feeling burned out. So, you can help your employees to avoid this by helping them keep on top of things.
You may think that your employees should be able to handle this on their own, but many people struggle to organise their time effectively or prioritise their work. And, there are many ways in which you can help your staff do better in this area. Here are a few ideas:
- Use online tools. Sites like Monday or Asana have been specifically built to help you organise your team all in one place. You can assign tasks, set completion dates, keep discussions specific to certain tasks, and keep track of what everyone is working on.
- Make meetings more effective. Many meetings have the tendency to run on longer than they need to with unnecessary procedures or discussions taking away from time spent working. Assign set times to discuss each issue, and stick to them to keep meeting length to a minimum.
Create a nice place to be
Improving the organisation of your business doesn't stop at just planning your workload or meetings, it can also help to re-organise and tidy the office. Having a nice working environment can do wonders for morale, improving motivation and reducing stress. Encouraging employees to take care of their work stations can create a nicer place for the entire workforce to be, and allows them to take pride in the business they work for. It is also a great idea to add some plants into the workplace, as a study published by the Journal of Physiological Anthropology found that interaction with indoor plants can help to reduce stress levels and anxiety.
Allow employees to take on passion projects
If you notice an employee has a particular passion for a certain topic or project, try to allow for them to focus on this. Encouraging them to undertake a project that they enjoy is beneficial for both the employee, and the organisation. Having a passion or enthusiasm for a project can mean there is an improved energy behind the endeavour to drive towards success. This can help to build the employee's confidence, and shows them that their employer has faith in their ability, and are willing to put their talents and interests to good use. The resulting impact can be a domino effect of positivity, all of which can help to reduce any anxiety or stress in the workplace.
Calm employees are more productive, more engaged and generally happier in the workplace. They will stick with you for longer, produce a higher quality of work and have improved overall health. What’s not to love?
If you are interested in how One Year No Beer could benefit your organisation, please email us at [email protected]