Six Ways to Help Reduce Employee Stress in the Workplace

Stressed out? You’re not alone.

According to the Society for Human Resource Management, about 43 percent of the workforce suffers from chronic stress, which costs U.S. businesses upwards of $300 billion per year in absenteeism, turnover and lost productivity.

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Stress can lead to serious health and performance issues, including frequent neck aches, headaches, irritability, insomnia, and lack of productivity. It also contributes to rising healthcare costs.  It’s not exactly the formula for a healthy, happy or productive workplace.  So what are some ways to combat this stress?  The answer often starts right back in the office by offering workplace wellness. 

Workplace wellness programs provide the tools, knowledge and on-site services that can help lower stress levels. Even small additions can go a long way in helping alleviate employees’ stress.  And what’s more, often your wellness dollars through your insurance will provide some coverage for it! 

Here are six ways companies can help reduce stress in the workplace:

1. Offer On-site Chair Massages

Chair massages at the office. Photo courtesy of the Goomi Group Onsite Corporate Wellness.

Chair massages at the office. Photo courtesy of the Goomi Group Onsite Corporate Wellness.

An Integra survey stated that 62 percent of employees end their day with work-related neck pain. Bring a chair massage to the workplace. It’s easy and can target those tight neck muscles.

For the seated massage, the recipient sits down facing into the chair, looking down towards the floor, arms in a cradle. The back and neck are completely relaxed as the chair effectively “takes your weight,” which, in itself, releases tension.  

Typically, the massage is short, lasting around 15 minutes, which studies have shown has positive effects in the workplace, such as increased productivity and alertness. It’s a Swedish-style massage with the employee fully clothed that involves kneading and compression of muscles and soft tissues. It focuses on the back, shoulders, neck and arms, the areas where you typically carry tension.

A single 15-minute chair massage can also promote increased blood circulation, lower blood pressure, and a strengthened immune system. And goodbye insomnia! Improved sleep is a happy side effect of massages.

Also, one large global organization found that work messages helped decrease absenteeism rates by up to 25% while increasing productivity and employee retention.  Who wants to work somewhere that offers regular massages to their employees?  Well, pretty much everyone.

2. Host Meditation Classes

Yoga or meditation at the office is great for focus, stress & team building.    Photo courtesy of Goomi Group.

Yoga or meditation at the office is great for focus, stress & team building.

Photo courtesy of Goomi Group.

Considering the benefits of meditation—from stress reduction to improved sleep – why don’t more companies offer meditation in the workplace? 

In particular, Mindfulness Meditation is great for employees. It can lengthen attention span and improve memory. Only meditating 20 minutes a day can also reduce anxiety/depression, help the brain remove distractions, and lessen chronic pain. 

Bring in an expert or use an app to make meditation more approachable for your employees.  There are some great apps out there and group meditation is also great for team building. 

3. Invite Experts to Teach Tips for Reducing Stress

Mental health is becoming destigmatized in the workplace, so companies who provide resources to help with stress management will show employees they care about their well-being.

Invite sizzling expert speakers to lead educational workshops or lunch-n-learns featuring informal, interactive experiences. A few examples of topics include conflict management, budgeting 101, mindfulness and resilience, exercises to do at your desk, and ways to reduce burnout.

Some ways to have a successful lunch-n-learn include promoting the heck out of the event, creating a post-event space to further discuss the topic, and mixing things up – have a drawing class with colored pencils and a make-your-own sundae ice cream bar.  

To read further about mental health issues in the workplace, check out our blog on recognizing depression in the workplace by clicking here.

4. Encourage Employees to Exercise

According to research, yoga or Pilates are best for helping people relax and feel less anxious. However, any form of physical activity is an important antidote. 

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity (such as brisk walking) or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity (such as jogging).

Help your employees get to those goals. Consider hosting a wellness challenge to take 10,000 steps per day or maybe a “Biggest Loser” competition or sign up your company for a 5K as a team. Track the results and offer incentives/rewards for all participants.

5. Office Yoga

Studies have shown that yoga can boost your immune system, slash stress and reduce high blood pressure and bad cholesterol.

GPA has offered “Boardroom Yoga” by corporate wellness instructors from the Goomi Group On Site Fitness & Wellness.   By offering yoga to our team, it allows us to give our employees a well-earned break and a chance to stretch their bodies with fun team building exercises.

Other types of yoga offered by the Goomi Group:

Hatha Yoga – focuses on balancing postures, as well as “breathing techniques from meditation.” It combines different aspects of yoga to make workers “stronger and more flexible.” A simple class that’s good for those learning to do basic poses.

Vinyasa Yoga – focused on getting you sweating in a hurry. Fast-faced and high-energy, it is challenging and invigorating – strengthening your entire body with constantly changing positions.  According to Goomi, Vinyasa keeps you focusing more on your actions… while clearing your mind of everything but your next move.

Bottom line, have yoga come to you. To see Goomi’s full suite of services click here…

6. Provide Health Coaching Services

Health coaching is a relatively new field that is gaining popularity, and for good reason. These services can empower employees to make changes in their lives and move toward better health and well-being.

Coaches will meet individually with employees and challenge them to reach personal goals, everything from losing 10 pounds, to de-stressing and gaining energy, even to improving their nutritional eating.

With more and more doctors booking patients in 15-minute increments, trained health coaches do one thing extremely well… they listen. They mentor, inspire, guide and motivate to cultivate positive health choices.

Regarding workplace wellness programs, Soeren Mattke, lead author of The Rand Report Workplace Wellness Programs Study says, “…(these) programs can help contain the current epidemic of lifestyle-related diseases, the main driver of premature morbidity and mortality as well as health care cost in the United States.”

Enough said. Bring wellness to your workplace today.