If you are an employer, manager or business owner, the chances are that you have witnessed first-hand the link between stress and performance at work. Keeping a healthy balance at work and in personal lives is a key element of keeping employee stress at manageable levels and increasing engagement and performance at work. A recent study published by Paul Barringer and David Orbuch in the Journal of Healthcare and Compliance reveals some key strategies for stress management in the workplace, largely based around low-cost health and wellness initiatives.
1.Promote Health and Wellness
It is recommended that companies promote health and wellness at regular intervals, perhaps including as part of a regular meeting. This should include topics such as healthy eating, physical fitness and maintaining a healthy mind. You could, for example, choose to run different topics monthly, such as having a ‘mental health month’ or other wellness-related topic. Bring in guest speakers or include resources and learning modules that employees can access.
2. Coordinate Wellness Challenges
Wellness challenges are a great way to engage your team and get them participating in healthy activities. It is recommended that you come up with an annual plan of activities which will promote employee interaction, engagement and wellness. In this study, there was heavy emphasis on activities which promoted teamwork and the importance of partners. These do not have to cost a lot of money; for example, teams could be formed with the challenge to see which team could log the greatest amount of exercise minutes over a certain period. Providing low-cost incentives can also add a boost to the challenge.
3. Celebrate and Reward Achievement
Being rewarded for your efforts can be a great motivator. The authors of the study provided all participants with some kind of low-cost reward such as a t-shirt and awarded larger prizes to winners. They also encouraged the sharing of ‘Health Hero’ stories where employees could talk about their own health successes such as weight loss or milestone accomplishments.
4. Regularly Promote Your Company’s Health Benefits
Does your company offer health benefits such as fitness memberships, check-ups, subsidies or counseling? Make sure that this is a part of the orientation of all new employees and that these services are regularly promoted with current staff. Keep information posted in places that are easily accessed such as employee cafes, common areas and on the company intranet if you have one. Make sure that if employees want to access these services, the process is as painless as possible.
These are just a few ideas for helping your employees to manage stress through wellness-based activities. There are many simple things you can try and they do not need to cost a lot of money. The main thing is to ensure that the support is in place and that employees know how to access it.