Did you know recent research calls stress in the office one of the most significant contributors to the cardiovascular and mental health issues, sleeping & eating disorders, and even chronic anxiety? To improve your employees’ quality of life, we have to face it and try to handle stress levels at the workplace. But how?
- Know the causes of stress in the workplace: workload, being constantly plugged in, poor management practices, unhealthy physical working environment.
- Learn simple strategies for the stress management in the workplace: approach your office design and architecture mindfully, encourage employees to surround themselves with items they love, use stress-relieving toys and gadgets, and the right types of furniture.
- Include fun stress management activities for office management in your corporate employee loyalty program: celebrate birthdays, your company’s significant dates, employee recognition awards, yoga, meditation, mindfulness, and/or spa days for the teams. Introduce Take Your Pet To Work events.
As a corporate gift service provider, we work with many international companies facing the problem of workplace stress and addressing it with interesting solutions implemented with their employee loyalty programs.
First of all, let’s look into the root causes of the problem, and then let’s dive into some easy-to-implement strategies to cope with it.
Causes of stress in the office
The European Agency for Safety and Health at Work calls work-related stress a major challenge to occupational health in Europe. Studies published in the Oxford Research Encyclopedias name it as the significant factor contributing to the cardiovascular diseases.
Those and other research often name the following stressors among the most dangerous ones:
- High workload;
- 24/7 workplace accessibility through mobile technology and virtual computer terminals;
- Poor management culture: micro management, insufficient guidance and support, blame and or excessively competing environment;
- Poor physical working environment.
All these sources list the following work related stress symptoms:
- Growing anxiety;
- Sleeping disorders;
- Poor attitudes toward the workplace;
- Poor job performance.
Simple strategies for managing stress in the workplace
While some factors like economy crises and political situations, which can also cause stress, are out of your control, there are some things that are in the employers’ and employees’ zone of influence.
By Design and By Default: Stress Relieving Office Plans
Firstly, the School of Architecture, KTH Royal Institute of Technology 2010 research published in materials from the ARCC/EAAE 2010 International Conference on Architectural Research, in Washington DC, suggest office design influences employees’ stress levels.
As an employer, you need to consider which floor plan is more preferable for your team depending on such factors as size and amount of different teams, desired level of collaboration between them, and the amenities they need to thrive in the workplace.
For example, the research shows that stress levels are much higher in combi-offices than in flex-offices where there is more freedom for your employees.
Playing Makes Everything Better: Use Gadget and Toys for Stress Reduction
On the other hand, employees might not be in a position to choose the type of office they work in. That’s where you can use personal-level strategies to cope with stress at work.
Stress relieving gadgets and toys are a proven method to level down daily anxiety. Surround yourself with things you love, that remind you of something positive, and keep you motivated. Encourage your teammates to personalize their work spaces and adapt them to their needs.
Healthy Work Surroundings: De-stress Yourself and your Team
Over time, everyone spends more than 25% of our days at a work desk. Because of this, we must make sure it’s comfortable and healthy. There are plenty of great furniture options ideal for stress management: standing desks, stress-relieving chairs, and more.
Many choose to retreat to comfort food at stressful times. Habitual eating can in turn become a stress factor, which can exacerbate health issues. It is a good step for your company to provide healthy, energy-boosting snacks like fruit, berries, nuts, or salads. No one wants your hard-working employees ending up at the nearest burger joint drive-thru.
One of the most powerful tools for stress management at the workplace is creating team-building events. This can include company dinners, gaming activities, and office celebrations. If you want to launch a corporate program for increasing employee loyalty, can consider the following activities.
Stress Management Activities in the Office
- Parties, celebrations, employee recognition award events – there are all sorts of occasions for monthly or seasonal events in the office like employees’ birthdays, special company anniversaries or milestones, local holidays. We gave the wider account on leveraging the employees birthdays in the corporate programs here.
- Yoga can help in reducing stress in the office – yoga, meditation, and mindfulness activities are renowned for their ability to reduce the anxiety. Weekly yoga or meditation class for your employees can become a real team bonding factor. If you do not have an option to organize such event on the corporate premises, consider giving your employees the SPA gifts and certificates for some occasion.
- Office games to relieve stress – Activities like playing Secret Santa during the holiday season can help reduce tension between team members, as well as improve employee morale and well-being at the workplace.
- Take your pet to work days – A 2012 study from the Virginia Commonwealth University found that employees who brought their dogs to work experienced lower stress levels throughout the work day.
A client of ours, a large manufacturing company in the technology industry, recently achieved great results with employees retention. Part of their innovative approach was to plan internal events. They also started a gifting program that resulted in a significant decrease in employee turnover. Since then, their employees report less stress and burnout symptoms.
According to Gift Baskets Overseas’ data, the most popular corporate gifts for international companies include fruits, alcohol, and chocolate. Now, you can use the corporate gift wizard to request gift baskets like those. Or find spa and pet lovers’ gifts appropriate for your loyalty program if it includes spa events and Take Your Pet To Work days.
Key takeaway: use fun ways to de-stress your office
There are plenty of activities to relieve stress in the office for your team and yourself at work:
- Present your employees with spa gift baskets, stress-relieving toys, and gadgets;
- Encourage stress-reducing activities like Take Your Pet to Work days, yoga and mediation events;
- Throw an office party for them!