The term stress is an all-encompassing term that could lead to physical, emotional, and mental health issues. When stress enters the workplace, it could also affect the health and productivity of the place of employment. Stress may be a normal part of life, but employers have started to incorporate stress management into the workplace.
Stress management in the workplace starts at the top, and can be as simple as offering meditation, deep-breathing classes, lunchtime exercise or gym memberships, or nutritious meals at lunch. Effective stress management techniques greatly increase employee productivity.
Incorporating stress management is imperative in the workplace, but first you should understand what stress management is and why it makes such a positive impact on a place of employment. Keep reading to learn about five proven stress management techniques that can easily be incorporated into the workplace and promote employee well-being.
What is Stress Management?
It is not unusual for employees to feel stressed during the workday. Not all stress is bad and it can even help us be more productive. A reasonable amount of stress can make you more productive, stronger emotionally and mentally, and even help you manage your stress better when it starts to get out of control, including the following symptoms:
- Intensified irritability
- Weight gain or loss
- Disturbed sleep
- Increased alcohol or drug abuse
- More easily frustrated
Too much negative stress, like the symptoms above, can damage one’s overall health and affect productivity in the workplace. Stress can show up in many forms, whether it is an emotional, mental, or even physical response to a challenging situation. In the workplace, it can result in increased absences and lower productivity and retention.
This is why managing stress is important in the workplace. You can also create an employee wellness program which can help relieve stress. Because stress is all around us, and when it is brought into work, or magnified because of a stressful work environment. It can harm the employees and the efficiency of the place of employment. Many employers are now offering stress management techniques to combat these negatives.
- Deep breathing ( Check out the Wim Hoff Breathing Method benefits here!)
- Tai chi (Look at our recommendations for Tai Chi Classes Online)
Stress management is a variety of approaches, such as the relaxation techniques above, which help you deal with stress in your life. It may start with learning basic skills to prioritize responsibilities so that they are less overwhelming, managing time better, or controlling emotions and dealing with difficulties and hardships in a healthier way.
How Does Stress Management Show up at Work?
In the workplace, stress management should show up from the top and work its way down to each and every employee. If an employer supports the employees’ health and wellbeing, it will contribute to a healthier overall workplace. There are three main clues that an employer may see that means stress management should enter work:
- Increased absenteeism: If your employees are stressed, they are more than likely not going to come to work.
- Less retention: Employees probably will not stay in a job that is stressful.
- A toxic work culture: A work staff may be more toxic when they are stressed.
If an employer starts to see any of the above signs, he or she should incorporate stress management techniques into the workplace. This could be offering stress management training courses, lunchtime relaxation aids like lunch yoga, meditation, or tai chi, or even bringing in professional stress management trainers to talk to employees one-on-one.
There are some common stressors that show up in the workplace, such as extreme workloads, lack of opportunity for advancement and growth, lack of support from employers, managers, and coworkers, and conflicts amongst employees. Although some of these stressors are difficult to fix, the stress from them can still be managed.
When stress management shows up in the workplace, it teaches employees how to identify what is making them stressed and then gives them the skills needed to better handle the stress in the workplace. This is imperative to a healthy work environment because stress can have a major impact on employees, the employer, and the culture.
The Impact Stress Management Can Have at Work
Stress management can have a positive impact on the workplace. A less-stressed work culture means your employees will be more productive and more resistant to adversity. This impact can have a positive influence on the organization as a whole. Stress management can reduce health care costs by 14 percent while increasing revenue.
Employee retention is also impacted by stress management, as employees will be more dedicated to their jobs and less likely to leave if they are less stressed and feel a sense of value. Employers will also attract worthy employees if the organization as a whole projects a healthy atmosphere and the current staff simply looks happy.
Stress management can also have an impact on productivity because stress is one of the foremost causes of absenteeism. Stress- and anxiety-related absences are real, which is why you may have heard the term “mental health day.” If you reduce stress in the workplace through stress management, it will have an impact on absences.
When your staff is healthier and happier, you will be promoting a better work culture that has an open channel of communication and exchange of ideas. Employers should incorporate stress management techniques and invest in personalized mental health methods tailored to staff, as the personal and professional benefits will be evident.
5 Proven Stress Management Techniques to Use at Work
As an employer, you should also have an open-door policy in which employees can feel comfortable talking to their supervisor and get the support they need. The purpose should not be to allow employees to continuously complain, but to feel comfortable talking to a supervisor or manager to get stress off their chest.
If your employees feel they can trust those in command, they will be able to manage their stress in a healthier manner. In addition to having an open door policy, there are stress management resources you can make available to your employees to help them better manage stress during the workday. These are either cheap or free to offer:
- Guided meditation
- Deep breathing techniques
- Lunchtime exercise or sports activities
- Gym memberships
- Promote good nutrition
Although some employees may need a more professional form of counseling or employee assistance, these five stress management techniques have been found to work wonders in developing a healthy work environment. They also promote socialization amongst employees, which is important to a healthy work environment.
Employers can incorporate relaxation techniques into the workplace to help employees melt away their stress mid-workday. It could be a few minutes over lunch or a late-day gift of time, but incorporating relaxation techniques at work can really help dissolve the stressful situations your employees may be facing.
Offering guided meditation is a great way to help your employees find a much-needed distraction from the stresses of work and will not take too much time out of the workday. Guided meditation focuses on breathing and clearing one’s mind so that you can understand your stress, reduce it, and connect better with others.
You could offer five-minute meditation breaks to help employees center their mind and body on relaxing. Then once they have mastered shorter meditation you may want to bring in a professional who can teach them to meditate for longer periods of time. They may do some of the following methods to help your employees reduce their stress:
- Have them sit on the floor in a room that is quite and calm
- Set a time limit for the meditation
- Have them close their eyes
- Teach them how to feel their breath as it goes in and out
- Discuss how to handle a wandering mind
- Guide them through the meditation and then have them open their eyes when time is up
This stress management technique does not even need a professional or experienced individual, as there are numerous guided meditation devices on the Internet that you can use to teach your employees how to manage their stress. You should have a dedicated room they can go to so they know it is time to destress and recharge.
Deep Breathing Techniques
The same room that is offered for guided meditation can also be used to practice deep breathing techniques. Deep breathing is a great way to reduce stress by activating the part of the nervous system that manages the body’s responses to apparent threats. Your employees can do the following to help manage their stress at work:
- Take a deep breath in and hold it for two seconds
- Release the breath for a count of five seconds
- Repeat as necessary
This simple stress management technique is a little less intimidating than full-on meditation and can still help reduce overall stress and anxiety your employees may be experiencing throughout their workday.
Offer Lunchtime Exercise or Sports Activities
Physical exercise is one of the number one ways to manage stress and promote a healthier lifestyle. Your employees may not want to get sweaty over lunch, but offering simple walks over lunch can really help them manage their stress and come back refreshed for the rest of the day.
Lunchtime walks can also incorporate social time in which employees can talk to one another while enjoying the outdoors. Another way to promote social time and fitness is by organizing a recreational sports team. This can be a company softball team, a kickball event, or other sport that everyone can play and enjoy.
If your employees are experiencing a shared activity together, it will help them manage their stress, reinforce comradery, and further promote workplace relationships that employees can use for support during difficult and stressful times in their life.
Offer Paid for or Discounted Gym Memberships
Does your work not have a good place to walk during the day? Why not offer your employees memberships at the local gym? The minor cost of offering gym memberships will come back in spades when your healthcare costs go down because your employees are healthier and happier.
Just like lunchtime exercise, working out together at the gym also promotes connections amongst your workforce. Humans are social beings and need positive connections with one another. One of the best ways to promote that is to encourage exercise and getting healthier together.
Promote Good Nutrition
Just like physical exercise, good nutrition is also a crucial component of how employees can positively respond and handle their stress. A starved brain is a stressed brain, and food is a well-known way to bring people together, so why not promote healthy eating habits while also promoting a fun social activity.
When we are hungry it affects our energy level and productivity. And stress depletes essential vitamins in the body, such as vitamins A, B complex, C, and E. You may want to bring in a nutritionist to talk to employees about these depletions, or you can work on your own to help promote a healthier lifestyle through proper nutrition.
This could be done by offering your employees nutritional plans, or by presenting healthy lunches a few times a month. Enjoying a healthy meal together can be the perfect way for employees to recharge and focus on their activities. The term “hangry” is a real thing, so why not promote healthy eating habits and the social aspect of food.
A Great Resource for Managing Stress Management at Work
Another great resource you can use for stress management at work is an educational course offered by Stanford University. The Center for Health Education at Stanford University helped develop this course for employees interested in improving their well-being, resilience, and stress management skills at work.
The course emphasizes a fine balance between professional productivity and personal health with techniques designed to equip employees with an emotional and mental toolkit they can rely on during stressful times.
By having an open communication channel and incorporating these five stress management techniques into the workplace, you are not only increasing productivity, retention, and a healthy culture. You are also lowering health costs and giving your employees proven techniques they can apply to many aspects of their lives.