Five Tips to Minimize Stress in the Workplace

Aug 25, 2015

According to The American Institute of Stress, stress in the workplace is extremely high among American adults. Stress can cause problems like heart disease, stroke, and many other illnesses. In fact, stress is the basic cause of 60% of human illness and disease. Just talking about it is stressful!

You can see how important it is to reduce stress in the world around us and, specifically, in the workplace. But how can one do this without getting stressed out himself? Here are five tips that will help you manage and minimize workplace stress:

#1. Make sure employees take breaks. Working on an empty stomach, sitting for six or eight hours at a time, constantly answering phone calls and emails all take a toll on us. That’s why employees are provided with lunch breaks and work breaks.

Oregon state law says that employees who work at least six hours are entitled to a 30-minute meal break as well as a paid 10-minute rest break for each four hour period of work. The exact details of this law can be found by contacting the United States Department of Labor.

Be sure your employees take advantage of these breaks and, if possible, try to provide a couple of extra stretching or walking breaks throughout the day. You can even program a calendar reminder for each employee to make sure they take their mandated breaks and have a little time to de-stress.

#2. Think about the workspace. An endless sea of blue cubes can get very narrowing and stressful. Here are three simple improvements you can make to the overall office space that can help lower stress levels for everyone:

  • Add plants. Studies show that plants improve the air quality in enclosed buildings, reducing illness in those buildings and benefiting employees’ immune systems. Excellent air purifiers include: ivy, chrysanthemums, peace lilies, parlour palms, varieties of dracaena, chinese evergreen, and philodendron.
  • Change out those old fluorescents. Studies show that natural lighting improves human productivity and reduces stress. Changing out those old bulbs with full spectrum tubes can be an instant stress-reducer!
  • Utilize colors for quick relief. Different colors help stimulate different actions. Red is energizing, blue is calming, green fights irritability, and orange stimulates creativity. Add some stimulating art to your office or replace that old brown carpet with a calming green and stress may just melt away!

#3. Foster a social, cohesive environment. Humans are social, collaborative creatures. Be sure your workplace helps harness this by asking employees to participate in team building activities and face-to-face meetings.

#4. Create a technology-free space. We use our phones or stare at computer screens constantly. Create a space within the office that is tech free. It can be a quiet space for meditation or a fun room with a foosball table. The only caveat is that it is screen free.

#5. Make sure you de-stress too! Be sure to practice what you preach! Manage your time, take breaks, and generally work to stay as stress free as possible throughout your day.

It can be hard to decompress at work, but it is important to fight workplace stress with every tool at our disposal. Be sure to help your employees get and stay as stress-free as possible!

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