Stress levels are on the rise these days. In fact, almost all Americans are reporting mild to extreme stress levels. For more than 80 percent of adults in the United States, work is a primary source of both physical and mental tension. Many point out that stress at work is negatively affecting their home lives, relationships, sleep patterns, and other important aspects of life. With all that in mind, quite a few employers are taking measures to reduce work-related stress. In doing so, they’re helping their employees as well as their businesses.
Reducing Stress in the Workplace
Due to the ongoing uptick in stress, workplace stress management programs are becoming increasingly common. In the past, many employers believed that creating a certain amount of stress in the workplace generated positive results. They felt it kept employees on their toes and motivated them to reach for higher goals. Though that can be true to an extent, work-related stress appears to have gotten out of hand at this point. That means mitigating the situation is advised.
Understanding the Negative Impacts of Stress
Numerous studies have shown that stress can have significant negative effects on people. At the very least, it can lead to headaches, sore muscles, and digestive upset. Beyond that, stress can cause insomnia, irritability, anxiety, and depression. When it comes to the workplace, stress can result in low employee morale and reduced productivity. It’s also the leading cause of missed workdays, prompting more than a million absences per year.
Combating Work-Related Stress
It’s possible to combat stress in the workplace through several strategies. For one, encouraging employees to be more physically active can go a long way toward easing tension while ramping up creativity and productivity. On top of that, exercise provides a long list of health benefits. Many of them directly counteract the impacts of stress.
Employers are advised to give workers opportunities to leave their desks and move around without negative consequences. Experts recommend that employees use stairs instead of elevators when possible and set aside portions of their lunch breaks to take walks. In some cases, installing standing desks can be helpful. Incorporating employee exercise programs may also be advantageous. Those are only a few ways to keep people active in the workplace and counteract some of the stress involved in their jobs.
Massage and Meditation
Many businesses are also introducing massage programs for their employees. These can take place on-site or elsewhere. Employers may allow specific times during the workday for employees to take advantage of the benefits of massage or schedule sessions after hours. Additionally, some companies are hosting meditation classes and sessions for their workers. Meditation has been found to significantly reduce stress for some people.
Boosting Employee Engagement
Offering stress management solutions in the workplace is certainly helpful, but not all workers are inclined to take advantage of these options. Some may shy away from massage and meditation. Others may feel that frequently leaving their workspaces to wander aimlessly around the office is a waste of time. Because of that, it’s important to encourage employee engagement.
Educate employees on the effects of stress and the benefits of managing it. Give them multiple choices for managing stress at work or mitigating work-related stress at home. In some cases, businesses offer extra incentives for employees who participate in stress management programs, such as discounts on health insurance. In short, businesses should provide stress management solutions, emphasize their importance, and encourage employee engagement to keep their workforces healthy, happy, and productive.