Reducing Workplace Stress

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People have certainly been through a lot lately. Most business leaders are sensitive to the fact that anxiety and stress levels could be on the rise. So how can we help our employees?

It’s logical to assume that employees who feel stressed in the workplace, and/or experience burn-out, will likely seek more accommodating employment conditions elsewhere. Conversely,   employees who feel comfortable and productive in the workplace setting will probably choose to stick around longer, knowing their company is looking out for them, which is what we want!reducing stress

For us, we work actively to promote an environment of wellness and where stress is reduced wherever possible. For example, as we have noted in the past, work/life balance is important! We encourage our team leaders to recognize what needs to be addressed right away, and what can be handled later and help our employees do the same!  

We have also found that emphasizing these three areas can really help employees in the workplace.

Encourage employees to take breaks. No one, from the CEO to the front-desk receptionist, can work straight through eight hours or more a day without some kind of a break. Attempting to do so only leads to exhaustion, mental fatigue, and a greater likelihood of making a critical work-related mistake.

Instead, support employees by serving as a role model in this area. For example, “if your company offers paid time off, don’t just encourage employees to use it,” notes NDTV. “Schedule your own PTO and remind them that they are free to do the same.” Want team members to take a brief break during the work-day? Then “take those same breaks yourself and tell them you’re doing so.”

Emphasize wellness. Every workplace culture is different, but most “employers of choice” take an active role in promoting health and wellness, both on and off the job. You can help team members practice healthy habits, thereby leading to reduced stress and a greater engagement with other team members.

For example, provide telehealth resources, on-site wellness presentations (which employees can attend at their convenience), encouraging regular exercise routines, and/or other activities focusing on good eating habits and the value of exercise. Many insurance carriers offer these and related programs, and are happy to come out to your workplace and share resources with employees.

Have fun! The old way of thinking held that fun and games have no place in a company setting. More enlightened cultures today grasp the value of fun as a key element in a better work/life balance and in promoting stronger bonds between co-workers.

What does “fun” mean in a practical sense? It can be anything from encouraging employee contests and activities such as a corn hole tournament, to once-a-week employee get togethers outside of work. More ambitious options may include team-building events at a local bowling alley or taking the team to an afternoon baseball game. It all depends on your company culture and what seems best for your team.

Reducing stress can lead to a happier, more productive workforce. This in turn can boost employee retention, a worthy goal for every organization. 

What has worked for you in this area?  Let us know!

Tony Cimorelli
Baillie Lumber Co.
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