With deadlines, presentations, and building client relationships on the table, you can never fully eliminate workplace stress for your employees. If your employees go too long without stress relief, it has an adverse effect on their performance at work as well as problems at home such as sleep deprivation, depression, and fatigue. However, there are numerous ways to relieve stress and provide a productive atmosphere at the office.
If you’ve ignored work stress relief in the past or you’ve noticed a drop-off in office morale, here are a few work stress relievers that are sure to help your employees cope.
Stress relief at work
When it comes to stress relief at work, not all employees respond similarly to the same activities or ideas. That’s why it’s important to try new methods frequently and mix it up to find what your employees find soothing. One obstacle that you may find when brainstorming for work stress relief is coming up with a suitable budget, especially if you’re a smaller company or a startup.
If you’re in this category, finding money to put into stress relief isn’t easy, as you often have capital tied up in other aspects of your business. Fortunately, you can tailor your stress relief programs into whatever fits your budget. Don’t overspend or become too extravagant if you don’t have the means, as employees will grow to expect this type of treatment. The name of the game here is finding creative ways to relieve stress without breaking the bank. If all else fails, a team meeting can provide you with ideas while giving employees a voice in the process.
Exercise in the workplace
In most office settings, your employees sit at their desks for at least eight hours a day. Not only is this unhealthy, but it leads to extra stress. To combat this situation, start an exercise program in your office. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to get everyone a gym membership. Instead, require your employees to get up and walk around the office or up and down a few flights of stairs. If there’s a park nearby, you can even let them go outside and soak up the scenic beauty for 15 minutes or so.
If you want to make this process a bit more interactive, technology is helping to lead the way. The popular Fitbit has become a great means to test your fitness levels throughout the day. This device tracks steps taken as well as miles walked. When employees don’t want to break away from their desk, you can organize a monthly or weekly contest to see which employee can get the most steps or distance in a given time. At the end of the week, tally up the results and reward the winning employee with a small prize or incentive. This fosters a gentle competition between employees while relieving stress.
In most businesses, employers have a mix of hourly and salaried employees. Most of the time, the hourly employee has a 40-hour limit to their day to curb overtime pay. However, salaried employees can work as much as they please. Unfortunately, there’s a limit to productivity for salaried employees. According to research presented by CNBC, employees suffer a stark drop in productivity if working more than 50 hours a week, while enduring more stress at the same time. For this reason, it’s often a good idea to put a cap on the number of hours worked in a week, unless there’s a pressing deadline you have to meet. It’s a free stress relief tool, and you’ll find a huge spike in work effort and productivity.
Bring games to the office
Many marketing and advertising firms have put a huge emphasis on improving creativity in the workplace. In some cases, this means bringing a foosball table or ping-pong table to the office. This allows employees to get their minds off work, even if it’s only for a few minutes. If you don’t have the budget for one of these games, don’t fret. Fantasy sports leagues, board games, and video games are all ways to relieve stress without going outside of your budget. If you want to have a bit of friendly competition, start a league that has stats and standings, or try something such as an elimination tournament throughout the week or on a Friday.
Bring in plants or start a garden
Humans weren’t intended to sit under fluorescent lighting all day without a break. While it’s tough to head out into nature during the workday, that doesn’t mean you can’t bring it inside. Encourage your employees to bring plants to decorate their desks or the office. In addition, you can bring in your own plants to fill empty space in the office. Just a bit of greenery helps to soothe stress, while providing a lovely backdrop for your office and even cleaner air.
If you want to go the extra mile, an office garden is another choice if you have the space. Most small plants and seedling are relatively cheap, easy to care for, and provide fresh vegetables and herbs. Even if you don’t want to buy them yourself, window sill planters keep vegetables out of the way while providing healthy snacks for your employees to share at the office.
Encourage work/life balance
In recent years, businesses have started to place an emphasis on work/life balance, and the results have been nothing short of spectacular. Cutting out late nights, early mornings, and weekend work all relieve work stress, and allow your employees to have an identity and life outside of the office. If you have an employee that pours their heart into the business, yet seems stressed, force them to cut hours and make sure they find an activity that they’ll enjoy outside of work.
You should also consider a revamp of your vacation benefits and working hours. Unless you need employees there at a specific time, it’s possibly in your best interest to let them work the hours that fit with their natural schedule. Not every employee is at their best at 8 a.m. or 6 p.m., yet each has a time when they’re at their sharpest. Vacation days are also an important asset to work stress relief. Perhaps you don’t have to offer more vacation, but giving employees an afternoon off or a day of unpaid or paid vacation should make quite a difference.
Go to an event together
Workplace stress can lead to bitterness, resentment, or anger between employees. It may be that their feelings just boil over with stress, or that they normally get along but the stress is really affecting their relationships. Either way, going to an event as a team is a brilliant method to improve morale and productivity while nurturing workplace relationships.
One of the best ways to do this is by heading to a sporting event, especially a baseball game. America’s pastime allows you to get outdoors, watch a game, and discuss things that aren’t work-related. Even if your team doesn’t love baseball, the food and sunshine is enough to make them appreciate the gesture. If you can plan ahead, most teams offer last-minute discounted tickets or cheaper tickets for groups.
Have an office food or decorating contest
Despite the cheery atmosphere of the holidays, most people stress even more. They have work on their plate, family events, and other planning that’s time-consuming and stressful. To cut the stress in the office and at home, have a low-key food or decorating contest.
During winter, you can organize a chili cook-off to see which employee has the best culinary masterpiece. Holidays such as Easter, Thanksgiving, Halloween, and Christmas are also times to have a decorating contest. Not only does this melt away the stress, but it gives individuals something to look forward to while showcasing their abilities or skills.
Some of these holidays also provide unique opportunities to lump these two contests together. With a Christmas cookie and decorating challenge, you get to brighten up the office with holiday cheer while gorging yourself with the best snickerdoodles, sugar cookies, or chocolate chip cookies you’ve ever had. There’s something about ornate Christmas decorations and a heavy dose of sugar that always make stress more bearable.
When you give employees the chance to cut their stress, the benefits are so great that it’s often immeasurable. Remember that no matter what, a good employee is a happy employee.
Feeling overwhelmed? Get more out of your to-do list by working smarter, rather than harder.