Stress Awareness Month has been recognized every April since 1992, but this year feels more important than ever. Many employees are now working from home due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While remote working has its perks, an ‘always-on' mindset can quickly add to employee stress and burnout. Read on for how stress could be impacting your employees and ways you can help them reduce it.
The effects of excessive stress:
- In a study, workers said workplace productivity (56%) and relationships with coworkers and peers (51%) are most affected the most by stress and anxiety.
- Stress can also cause a lack of energy, lack of focus, reduced creativity, poor time management, poor relationships.
- Health implications from stress include anxiety, lack of motivation or focus, sadness and depression, sleep problems, headaches, and fatigue.
What employers and managers can do to reduce stress:
- Allow flexible hours.
- Flexible schedule options can reduce employees' stress, especially for those with kids.
- In turn, they can feel more relaxed and focused when they start working. Encourage employees to take breaks.
- Check-in with your employees to make sure they have taken adequate lunch breaks.
- Encourage them to take breaks outside, sunlight can help increase dopamine.
- Foster open and honest communication.
Topics like career growth, workload, or needing time off can be stressful and intimidating.
- Let them know that they can discuss these things with you, and make sure to check in with them on a regular basis.
Implement ‘mental health days’.
- Asking for the day off for mental/emotional reasons can feel daunting, but mental health is just as important as physical health.
- By adding a mental health day, employees will feel supported and more comfortable taking the day off to recharge.
- Share mental health resources.
- Informative articles, meditation guides, etc.
- Celebrate and appreciate employees.
- Plan fun activities for your employees in-person or virtual such as:
- A cooking class
- A workout
- A team happy hour
- Share gift cards for food delivery/take-out
- Send flower on birthdays or anniversaries
While stress is normal and happens to everyone, too much stress can have serious health consequences and affect productivity. Use Stress Awareness Month as an opportunity to gauge what you’re currently doing to help employees and teams manage stress and what you improve upon. Show your employees that they’re valued and that you care for their workplace wellbeing. Happy employees make for a healthier workplace and successful business.
Reduce stress with ergonomic solutions
Stress can pile up and affect you not just mentally, but physically. That’s why it’s important not just to take care of your mental health, but to use ergonomic tools that reduce physical stress as well. Ergonomic chairs that are highly adjustable can help tremendously if you have a job that requires you to sit for long periods of time.
If you want to mix things up, try switching to a height-adjustable standing desk. It gives you the option to alternate between sitting and standing throughout the day, which reduces the ill effects of a sedentary lifestyle and reduces your overall stress, too! Popular desks like the SmartDesk from Autonomous are a great way to incorporate standing into your work routine
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