Chronic, overwhelming job stress can cause long-term physical and emotional health issues. Unfortunately job stress is all too common in the US. According to the American Psychological Association, 65% of Americans reported job stress as their top stressor. In that same survey, only 37% of Americans reported that they were doing an excellent or very good job at coping and managing their stress. Also, more than one-third of working Americans reported experiencing chronic work stress and just 36 percent said their organizations provide sufficient resources to help them manage that stress.
A healthier, happier workforce means a lot not only for the employees, but also the company. There are ways in which organizations can help their employees cope and manage some of these workplace stressors more effectively. We would like to share a few with you.
- Organize walking meetings or schedule walking breaks throughout the day. It is a nice change to sitting in an enclosed conference room for extended periods. Fresh air and routine movement during the day (weather permitting) are great for the mind and energy levels. If walking meetings aren’t possible, then walking breaks at scheduled intervals can also help relieve stress. Set reminders on employee calendars or make routine announcements throughout the day to encourage employees to take sufficient breaks. Most importantly, counsel managers to lead by example.
- Create a relaxing space within the office (or even outside) for employees to use throughout the day or on their scheduled breaks and lunches. This could mean nice picnic tables outside for employees to enjoy their lunch; or an inside space with a comfortable sitting area, calming music , dim lighting for relaxation and meditation, and maybe a few refreshments. This will give employees a space to seriously break away from the workload from time to time and return to their work refreshed.
- Establish communication & open door policies if your company doesn’t already have it. Encourage managers and supervisors to walk around throughout the workday and ask their employees how they are doing, and if they need help with anything. A simple hello and brief encounter each day can make a difference to that employee. Remember to set clear, and concise expectations when it comes to your employees’ job descriptions and work projects. Employees can feel even more stressed and overwhelmed when directions are not clear to them.
- Implement a monthly or even quarterly social activity such as a company luncheon / potluck or team building activity. Employees spend a lot of time together. So making their time together more enjoyable and fun will create a positive happy culture. A themed potluck each month or even board game events can bring the team together for some nice conversation. Friendly competition in the workplace is always a HIT!
- Award team members when they have excelled in their job. Simply acknowledging someone in front of their colleagues during the workday for a job well done speaks so much! It shows that the company sees and appreciates the hard work. Paid vacation days, employee of the month parking spots, gift cards, employee of the month certificates to be hung up in a common place, announcing positive feedback and attributes at town hall meetings are all great ways to show appreciation and reward employees.
Whether you implement some or all of these recommendations, you are sure to see incremental transformations in how your employees cope with stress and improve productivity.
Does your company implement unique strategies for helping employees cope with stress? Do you have an incredible success story to tell? We would love to hear about it. Share it with us in the comments section below.