Tom's Take Blog

June 7, 2017

What can employers do to be proactive about helping employees manage workplace stress?

Tom’s Take: A big first step is being aware of how prevalent stress has become in people’s work lives (in multiple surveys, 80% of workers say they feel it) and the impact it can have if not addressed. Stress can result in everything from less productive workers to staff who reach complete burn-out, and it can have adverse effects like health issues, absenteeism and high turnover along the way.

 

There are so many ideas we could share, like keeping the lines of communication open when employees feel overwhelmed with workloads or incorporating team building/other fun activities to provide a little balance.

 

The one I’d really like to focus on now, though, is workplace wellness and how a program like this can be a proactive (but maybe not so apparent) way to help combat stress. I realize that every initiative is structured differently, but something all programs have in common is an emphasis on well-being. To me, anything that gets employees up and moving or inspired to focus on better health – think team activity challenges or health risk assessments – is a step in the right direction. That’s because physical activity and healthy habits are key factors in fighting stress.

 

This wellness mindset goes beyond the assessments and challenges you may set up at the office. It’s just as much about the “healthy culture” concept I’ve mentioned in the past. What is your company doing to minimize workplace stress? Maybe that involves encouraging employees to take a break and re-energize, or providing a quiet space where they can decompress.

 

Another thought is to make additional resources available to employees. Do you offer employee assistance programs (EAPs) as part of your health plan? If so, make sure your staff is aware of this and encourage them to reach out if they need the help.

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