Recognising stress is the first important step in reducing it in the workplace. The mental health organisation, Mind, has listed a number of ways that stress can manifest itself physically, mentally, and behaviourally. Signs included (but are not limited to):
When stress is recognised, by both the employer and the employee, the path to de-stressing becomes much easier. There are several ways to de-stress, but we are just going to touch on three.
You’ll be hard pushed to find any employee that loves their commute. It’s a waste of time, energy, money... it’s pretty much a waste of everything. Unsurprisingly, it is a huge contributor to stress - especially when you factor in delays and traffic. A report by the RSPH (Royal Society for Public Health) , states that 55% of commuters say their commute increases their stress levels, and 41% say their commute decreases the time they spend being physically active. By introducing flexible working hours or remote working opportunities, an employer is able to significantly reduce (or almost entirely eliminate) this universal source of stress. Flexible working hours means that employees can benefit from a less stressful commute. Even leaving half an hour later makes a big difference in how busy the London Underground is, for example. Remote working, when possible, eliminates the commute (and therefore the stress) altogether.
A common method of de-stressing, however, many employees won’t earnestly commit the time or money to regular exercise. Consequently, the employer can take a proactive role to motivate employees to keep active. We previously wrote extensively about this opportunity here. A flexible fitness benefit, like GoSweat for Work, is a fantastic way of motivating employees to keep active. Firstly, as an employee benefit, it eliminates the monetary cost barrier holding back employees. Secondly, GoSweat for Work is a program that actually incentives employees to keep active. The GoSweat Rewards scheme http://blog.gosweat.com/blog/gosweat-rewards is a fun and exciting way to motivate employees with physical rewards for staying active.
Professor Mark Williams, former director of the Oxford Mindfulness Centre, notes:
"Mindfulness...allows us to become more aware of the stream of thoughts and feelings that we experience... and to see how we can become entangled in that stream in ways that are not helpful"
Promoting a culture of mindfulness is an excellent way to help employees recognise stress and, in turn, learn how to manage it. An understanding of mindfulness can come from both words and actions. At GoSweat, we are proud to be partnered with a number of wonderful providers that specialise in mindfulness focused activities. Levitate Meditation host daily breath-based meditation and mindfulness classes. Such activities might not be for everyone, but no one can deny the calming power of taking a moment to breathe and relax.
Ensuring that stress is managed effectively in the workplace is an important part of supporting your employees' well-being. After all, a healthier and happier team is a more productive one too!