We all know stress levels and the chance of experiencing burnout has increased the past few years. We also know the causes and the symptoms, but for some reason, the numbers still are not going down. Our theory? Companies keep assuming they are the exception. We believe most companies don’t intend to overwork or fatigue their employees. However, there’s only one way to ensure your company won’t experience high turnover, low productivity, or see a surprise bad employee review on Glassdoor. That solution is consistently supporting employee well-being and being proactive with the resources you provide to reduce workplace stress. Since we are all about helping small and growing businesses find and keep talent, here are 5 affordable resources to consider offering employees.
Understanding Workplace Stress
First, before we dive too deep, we want to share that our recommendations follow and support two popular stress models – The Job Demands-Resources (JD-R) model and the Attention Restoration Theory (ART).
The JD-R model, developed in 2006, essentially states that every individual has a set of job demands and resources. Job demands may include a heavy workload, poor relationships, time pressures, and role ambiguity. Job resources are organizational, social, and physical factors that help us meet our job demands and lower stress. For example, autonomy to strengthen relationships, the opportunity for development, taking micro-breaks, and more. When our demands outweigh our resources, we are more likely to experience high stress and burnout.
The ART is a popular restoration theory developed in the 1980s that essentially states that exploring nature may improve focus and fatigue. A natural environment can restore us, rejuvenate us, and keep us healthier.
How can we take what we know about these theories and incorporate them into the workplace?
Reduce Workplace Stress
To put it simply, two primary ways to reduce workplace stress are increasing job recourses and exposure to nature (direct and indirect). What does that look like? Here are 5 affordable tactics that can also be adapted for remote and in-person teams.
1. Get your team outdoors
Create opportunities for your employees to get out in nature. If your company is in-person, hybrid, or remote but in the same central location (like us), schedule a team hike or outing. Make sure it’s an event where your team can really unplug from work-related thoughts. Bond over coffee or lunch while soaking in the beauty of local nature. If you’re fully remote and geographically dispersed, consider gifting your employees national or state park passes. Another great option is offering an experience stipend like our partner Trainual, so employees have the option to choose between a local adventure or a global excursion.
2. Plants, plants, and more plants
Now for our in-person workers, adding plants around the office is a pretty simple and easy fix. Those who are remote might have to get a little more creative, but we promise this isn’t impossible! In fact, this is a great employee engagement and team bonding opportunity. Did you know there are many ways you can make a DIY succulent planter event come to life?
- Option one – Build your own kits to send to the team! All you need is a small pot, some paint, and some faux succulents and rocks. Send the kits and a calendar invite to your team so you can paint and fill your pots together.
- Option two – Use services like Yaymaker to help you host a seamless event. They can even help take the work of organizing an in-person event off your hands.
3. Implement a Microbreak Policy
What are microbreaks? Microbreaks are short, voluntary, and impromptu breaks from work. They’re typically between 30 seconds and 5 minutes long and may include chatting to a coworker, eating a snack, taking a short walk, etc. Many employees are already engaging in this type of behavior, but by making it a standard that encourages employees to take a 5-10 minute break during the day, employees will feel supported in their wellness journey. It is all about the perception of commitment toward employee wellbeing. Having standards only make your organization more attractive to potential talent.
4. Stock Up on Snacks
Providing nutritional breaks or options can actually increase employee well-being which in turn leads to higher productivity and satisfaction! What do we mean by options? Set up a coffee station or snack cabinet. This simple effort provides employees fuel to keep them going throughout the day.
Don’t worry. Regardless of whether you’re in-person, remote, or hybrid, our friends at snackmagic have your back! Choose between curated snack boxes, or set your own budget and allow your employees to pick their own.
5. Educate and Set an Example
Like all of our blogs, we hope you’re taking each of these recommendations with a grain of salt. We understand it’s not realistic for smaller, growing companies to act on each of these tactics overnight. We also understand that there are often budgetary constraints that can impact the resources you can provide your team. One thing you can always do is support and educate your team.
You don’t have to get big-name speakers or implement a high-dollar training program to make an impact on your team. The internet is full of resources and knowledge that you can share with your team – videos, articles, free webinars, podcasts, and more! Normalize having conversations about well-being and how your team is achieving work-nonwork balance.
Sometimes it’s just as simple as sending words of encouragement to your team. Some we hear from our Founder Teresa Murphey quite often are, “It’s a beautiful day out. I hope take a few minutes to step outside and enjoy it!” Or, “Hey, everyone, before we hop into our next meeting, I’m going to grab a snack and refill my coffee. I encourage you all to do the same.”
Moving Forward with Workplace Well-Being
Learning how to reduce workplace stress is essential. We all know how challenging it can be to find that perfect “balance,” so we can assure any additional support you can provide in the workplace will be appreciated. For more tips, best practices, and resources for supporting workplace well-being (for employees and employers alike), subscribe to our blog. You won’t want to miss a single post from our 10-week Workplace Well-being blog series!