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November 2, 2020 Amelia Wilcox

7 Essential Strategies for Reducing Stress in the Workplace

Reducing stress in the workplace is beneficial for employees AND employers alike! Stress and anxiety impact employee productivity levels dramatically — which means that reducing stress will increase work quality. Sounds like a win-win to us! 

So how can you reduce stress in the workplace? We share 7 essential strategies to implement in the workplace, that will help solve your office stress issues. Try these strategies out and start to watch employee stress levels go down. 

  1. Encourage physical wellness in the workplace 

Physical wellness is a great way to banish stress and boost mental health. Numerous studies going all the way back to the ’80s have found that regular exercise can improve mood for people with stress, anxiety, or depression. Being physically active can help lower stress levels and improve your quality of life. Exercising regularly is often shown to have a positive effect on your mood, increasing the production of endorphins, relieving built-up tension, anxiety, anger, and depression that often come as a package deal with stress. When staff is taking great care of their bodies, their minds will feel good too. Creating an office environment that promotes healthy living through physical movement is a great way to start reducing stress in the workplace.

  • Encourage employees to go on a walk and get outdoors during lunch breaks
  • Offer subsidized gym memberships if you can
  • Hire a virtual personal trainer or yoga teacher to bring physical health to your team (even while working remotely)
  • Hold a steps contest among your teams (using fitness trackers or smartphones to track steps)

One fun way to get fit? Online yoga classes! Learn more about what we offer here.

  1. Provide therapy, coaching, or counseling for employees

Offering virtual or onsite counseling is growing in popularity as an amazing resource for reducing stress in the workplace. Why does it work? Certified counselors are trained to give your team effective, actionable tips and tricks to help deal with stress in positive ways. These tools make a real difference and mean that your staff can think more about their work more and about stress less. In a recent study, almost half of workers felt they needed help in learning how to handle the stresses of their jobs. Offering counseling, whether it’s in person, online, in group settings, or individually, can help employees deal with stress better. 

Counselors can also help reduce stress in the workplace by providing their expertise regarding interpersonal workplace issues. Many therapists provide counseling for relationships and communication — which can have a huge impact on workplace communities. Counselors can help teach management skills, how to communicate effectively with staff, how to hold boundaries and keep a work-life balance, and so much more. These skills can transform a workplace and create a company culture that prioritizes mental health!

Want to try teletherapy for your workplace? We can help! Learn more and introduce one of our specialized counselors to your team today. 

 

  1. Allow for flexible hours and remote working.

Consider allowing your employees to work remotely, or give flexibility around start and end times, or length of breaks taken. Flexible and remote work can dramatically reduce the amount of stress employees experience — especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. In a Mental Health America and FlexJobs study, 48% of respondents with flexible work options rate their work-life balance as very good or excellent, versus the 36% of workers without flex work options who say the same. 

Trusting employees to get their work done on time, while allowing for breaks, mental health days, or working from home can mean a lot less stress in the workplace. Surprisingly, it also means more productivity! The same study showed that 65% of workers feel more productive at home than working in a traditional office environment. That’s because of fewer distractions, less time (and stress!) commuting, reduced office politics, and fewer chatty coworkers distracting from getting work done! Defining success not by hours worked, but by quality and productivity can create a happier, healthier work environment.

  1. Prioritize healthy nutrition in the workplace

There are a lot of ways to take care of your mental health — and nutrition is one of them! A study by Peapod.com showed that 66% of employees felt extremely or very happy when their employer regularly stocked the refrigerator and cupboards. Plus, 83% said that having healthy and fresh snack options was a huge perk. This is an easy, inexpensive way to keep employees happy, and good nutrition supports mental health too. Simple solutions such as bowls of fresh fruit or granola bars in the company kitchen can go a long way. Nutritional counseling is another great way to boost health and bust stress — since having a professional help your team improves their nutrition will take the stress off your team.

  1. Make your work culture friendly

Encouraging socialization at work might seem counterintuitive to productivity, but a friendly, happy staff that likes each other is effective in reducing stress in the workplace. Coworkers who know one another and are comfortable around each other will communicate more effectively, trust one another more, collaborate on projects more frequently and with ease, and generally be happier to come into work each day. A study by The McKinsey Global Institute shows that productivity improves by around 20% in organizations where employees felt connected to one another. This is true for remote workers too! 

Try team building activities, such as setting aside 10 minutes at the end of a meeting for socialization (this can even be done on Zoom calls!). If you’re working in person, take lunch breaks together, or plan a team outing. Fun games (in person or online) can be a playful way to build team relationships. 

  1. Encourage taking breaks and vacations

Encouraging (and even requiring!) your staff to take breaks and vacations can be a powerful stress reducer. While it might be tempting to try to get the maximum number of hours out of your team, that’s actually counterproductive. Ensuring that breaks and vacations are taken by your staff will help them with reducing stress in the workplace when they return. Without adequate breaks away from work, employee productivity, mental well-being, and overall work performance begin to suffer. When staff works too much, they’re more likely to experience chronic stress and burnout. 

Simply making sure your staff takes a lunch break can make a big difference in reducing stress at work. According to a Tork survey, nearly 90% of North American employees claim that taking lunch breaks helps them feel refreshed and ready to get back to work. Sadly, nearly 20% of workers also worry their bosses won’t think they are hardworking if they take regular lunch breaks and 38% don’t feel encouraged to take a lunch break! Make sure your staff knows that taking a lunch break is regarded as a necessary part of their workday, and watch stress levels go down! 

  1. Celebrate your teams’ wins

When your employees don’t receive recognition, that can add to work stress! Making sure your team feels appreciated can dramatically reduce stress in the workplace. There are so many different ways to acknowledge your team. Some great ways might be a shout out during a meeting, a card appreciating them and their efforts, a prize, or even a simple thank you in person. No matter how you decide to recognize your team, this appreciation is bound to make your staff happier and proud of their success. This will in turn lower stress levels in the workplace!

Need help reducing stress in the workplace? Here at Zenovate our services will help you do just that! Our counselors are highly trained to help with workplace stress. Plus we have exciting services such as virtual yoga, meditation, guided massage and personal training that staff will love. Contact us today and we’ll get you started! 

Amelia Wilcox

Amelia Wilcox is the Founder and CEO of Zenovate formerly Incorporate Massage a leader in corporate massage since 2010. Her high-growth B2B company who’s platform provides employee stress management tools that arm businesses with actionable data and positive employee experiences to improve wellbeing, boost morale, and increase engagement.

Amelia has exponentially grown her company from a solo living-room service business to an international technology brand.

Awards
Recently listed as a Forty Under 40, Fast 50, Inc 5000 Twice awarded National Woman-Owned Small Business of the Year

Licenses, Certifications & Memberships
Licensed Massage Therapist since 2002
Member of American Massage Therapy Association
Served on Utah Worksite Wellness Council from 2012-2015

Education
Attended Utah College of Massage Therapy
Educated in Nutrition and Exercise Physiology at the University of Utah

Publications
Massage Magazine (AMTA's publication)  

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