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.

HHS Proposes New Law Requiring TV Ads for Pharmaceuticals List Their Prices

Have you noticed all the numerous items that must be stated in pharmaceutical advertising?  Well, that list just got a bit longer.

A new rule by federal regulators in the Department of Health and Human Services says that drug makers will now be required to disclose a drug’s cost in its advertising if the drug’s price before rebates and discounts is above $35 for a single month’s supply. This new rule, which will go into effect 60 days after it’s published, means that pharmaceutical companies will have to disclose drug prices in television commercials in the U.S. for the first time. 

Take a Walk in the Park

A new study has claimed to prove what many of our ancestors have known for generations. If you stroll or sit or exercise in a place that connects you with nature, you will lower your levels of stress in an important way. Some healthcare professionals are referring to it as The Nature Pill.

Wander in the wilderness, hug a tree, stroll thru a meadow, let the sand rise between your toes on a beach, watch a sunset. These are all restoratives proving that old adage: ‘Nature Heals‘. The sounds of a babbling brook or wild bird song have now officially been shown to reduce anxieties and stress. It’s called Eco-Therapy or, as the Japanese have named it--Forest Bathing.

Summer Cilantro Lime Shrimp Salad

The perfect welcome to summer and a great meal to bring to your holiday weekend barbeque, we give you our Summer Cilantro & Lime Avocado Shrimp Salad.  This refreshing and healthy salad features tangy lime juice and fresh herbs and spices, delicately tossed with delicious veggies and shrimp.  Here’s how to make it:

Brush Your Way to Savings on Dental Premiums

Brushing Those Pearly Whites Regularly Can Save the Company on Dental Premiums? What???

Yes, finally, a company that has taken the normal dental plan and thrown it out in favor of a modern tech approach to taking care of your and your employees’ oral hygiene…it’s called Beam Dental.

Beam offers something new and different in the dental plan field. First and foremost, they offer what they call Beam Perks where each employee that enrolls in their dental plan receives everything they need for excellent oral care, delivered to their doorstep, every 6 months. That means that employees receive a Beam Brush, Beam Toothpaste, refill heads, floss with no shipping costs!

Department of Labor Increases Penalties for Non-Compliance

Failing to comply with federal laws has just become more costly. The U.S. Department of Labor announced in late January increased penalties for non-compliant employers in applicable circumstances, with new adjustments for inflation, that took effect on January 23, 2019.

The laws affected generally apply to child labor, minimum wage and overtime pay, family medical leave, occupational safety and health, migrant and seasonal workers...

New Notice/Poster for California Employers

California employers! Another required posting is coming your way, effective April 1, 2019…

Last week, the Office of Administrative Law approved the Fair Employment and Housing Council’s (FEHC) changes to the Family Care and Medical Leave (CFRA Leave) and Pregnancy Disability notice -- now calling it the Family Care and Medical Leave and Pregnancy Disability Leave notice. Information was also added about the New Parent Leave Act (NPLA).

Growth in Telehealth Up 53 Percent

Telehealth allows patients across the country access to online consultations with board certified physicians at any time day or night.  Using technology to provide remote care via video conferencing and other methods, telehealth helps those unable to easily access onsite brick and mortar health care options.  Especially useful in rural areas, where the proximity to a hospital or doctor’s office may be difficult as well as for the elderly who may lack transportation, telehealth is allowing patients to have access to cost-effective, effective health care insights without physically visiting a doctor, often enhancing existing health plans, offering follow up services for care and providing patients with a cost effective alternative. 

Should Your Company Offer Caregiver Benefits?

Finding balance between caregiving while also being focused and present at work can be a challenge for employees with disabled or elderly loved ones at home, causing added stress and decreased productivity.  Recognizing this challenge, many firms are now including some form of caregiving in their HR programs and it has not only helped the employees in their dual roles as caregivers, but has benefited employers, as well.

Dept. of Labor Raises the Minimum for Overtime Pay for FLSA Exemptions

The DOL published new rules last week regarding who qualifies for overtime pay under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), raising the minimum salary threshold to $35,308 annually.  This rule has been referred to as the “white collar exemption” and defines those employees who fall under this rule as “any employee employed in a bona fide executive, administrative or professional capacity,” according to the Department of Labor…

Making Your Website ADA Compliant

You may have already installed a handicap ramp and enlarged doorways to make premises accessible to all, but have you revamped your websites for the same reasons? Your existing website may be a barrier to those with disabilities, and the Department of Justice now interprets the Americans with Disabilities Act as applicable to websites.  In fact, Title III of the ADA, is actively ensuring that new requirements include online properties, such as those websites. While final Federal regulations are still under determination, common sense guidelines should be undertaken now to avoid any issues…

Marijuana in the Workplace

California law has legalized recreational marijuana usage now, as well as its medical usage. How to deal with that as an employer has now become a vibrant issue.

Thirty-three States have legalized medical marijuana usage, and ten more have now legalized recreational usage. California did so, in 2016’s Proposition 64, with a vote of 56% to 44% and this gave 40 million people access to legal cannabis.  This vote came 20 years after the State had legalized medical marijuana. Now, California sales of marijuana are expected to reach $7.6 billion in 2020 and California is currently the world’s largest marijuana market.  So, how does this translate into the workplace?

Top 50 Hospitals

On February 12th , 2019, Healthgrades released its list of the top hospitals in the country. Healthgrades is an organization that collects patient satisfaction data through surveys to help prospective patients make decisions on where to receive the best care. They developed their survey based on the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ CG-CAHPS survey, which provides perspective on many aspects of the type of care received.

Below is the list of the California hospitals that made it into the Top 50. To see the whole list of hospitals that are in the Top 100 and the Top 250 by State, and to see what Healthgrades uses as criteria, click here. California is in the lead in all of the categories…