Stress at work is a growing issue. And in a highly competitive global economy that’s ‘always on’, employers would be forgiven for looking around and wondering: what can I do to help?
Resilience can be built by putting small, every-day coping strategies in place. Stress may never be completely eliminated from business, but these four tips can help you manage stress and promote productivity.
No Inbox outside work
– Groaning inboxes, full of cc’d conversations that don’t relate to us but that calm someone else’s anxiety levels, are often an unnecessary stressor. Leaders should establish a culture where email responses are limited to working hours. Microsoft’s 2014 Life on Demand survey revealed that over 40% of employees do work-related tasks at home. Maybe because they fear the consequences of not responding immediately. Put their mind at rest – turn off 24/7 email.
The walking meeting
– Getting out and moving, whether during lunch or walking meetings, is good for the brain. The average step count of Virgin Pulse Global Challenge participants is +12K daily steps. For employees to move that much each day, they need to get away from their desks. When they do, they have a chance to problem-solve, reset their minds, put things in perspective and reduce their feelings of stress and anxiety.
– Overcoming the stigma of psychological health is arguably the biggest challenge you will face when trying to engage employees in stress-management solutions. Find a creative entry point and remember that physical health programs also benefit psychological health. Research shows that people who exercise are more resilient in the face of stress and depression. 1
Bring people together
– Target stress in the organisational culture, not just in individuals. A company or department-wide roll out of your health initiative won’t necessarily require employees to ‘admit’ needing help. It can increase resilience across your entire workforce and reach those people who otherwise might not opt into traditional stress management initiatives.
 Callaghan P. Exercise: A Neglected Intervention in Mental Health Care? London. Journal of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing. 2004. P. 1.