Author: Iryna Hryban
Evidence-based Actions Employers Can Take (Part II – Worksite Wellness Stress Management Series)
Some level of stress at work is unavoidable, so the goal is to minimize and control stress levels.
Research shows that employers can reduce stress levels in the workplace, leading to healthier employees and better functioning companies. Below, we synthesize the available research to provide a series of practical, scientifically supported, low or no cost actions employers can take to start implementing a stress management program right away:
STEP 1: Plan and Analyze
Administer a questionnaire to employees to identify on-the-job stressors (e.g., work schedules, workload, relationships with coworkers, job conditions, workplace satisfaction).
Collect data on stress-related problems such as absenteeism, disability, illness, performance problems, and turnover rates, to serve as a baseline for comparison to determine the effectiveness of your stress management program.
Establish support from top management, and provide training for managers on identifying and reducing workplace-related stress. Training topics should include assertiveness, holistic stress management, time management, conflict resolution, and communication.
STEP 2: Implement the Program(s)
Provide a stress management program, such as individual or group support programs. These programs can be on-site or remote, led by on-site staff or other healthcare practitioners, and can be part of a larger workplace wellness program.
Provide a dedicated space for employees to relax, such as a quiet area for deep breathing exercises or a place where employees can take yoga classes.
Help employees build strong relationships by organizing massage days or wellness weeks.
Help employees develop a better work-life balance by providing elder care, childcare, health referrals, tuition reimbursement, flexible scheduling, or similar programs designed to offer workers greater flexibility, self-direction, and opportunity for advancement.
Allow employees time for physical activity during the day. Even brief bouts of physical activity, such as 30 minutes of brisk walking a day, have excellent stress reduction benefits.
Provide opportunities for employee input in organizational decisions that impact stress, such as work schedules, management of work demands, and participative problem-solving.
STEP 3: Evaluate Success
Administer a questionnaire to employees asking about their current stress levels, whether they have taken advantage of any of the stress reduction programs, and what stress-related issues are still not being addressed at periodic intervals (e.g., annually).
Calculate any reductions in absenteeism, illness, performance problems, or turnover rates.
Continually monitor and update stress-reduction programs to ensure their continued use and effectiveness.
Businesses that take these steps to prevent and manage stress will likely have healthier, more productive employees and reduced healthcare costs.
This is the second and final part in the Worksite Wellness Stress Management Series.
Iryna Hryban is Director of Marketing | Stem Cell Coordinator at Complete Wellness NYC – a New York City medical and wellness care facility. The Complete Wellness NYC facility was designed to act as a “one-stop shop” for many different healthcare concerns and needs. It is a place where highly regarded expert caregivers from many different areas of the medical field come together under one roof. Every Sunday, from 7pm to 8 pm, Complete Wellness is on the air on the radio show.