Businesses lose hundreds of billions annually in healthcare costs, missed workdays, and lost productivity due to stress employees experience in the workplace. According to one study, 52% of employees admit to calling in sick because they’re stressed out. And 60%–80% of accidents that occur on the job are due to distractions or sleepiness caused by stress.
Luckily, there are things you can do to develop a stress-free company culture. Here are some ideas to get you started down the right path.
Offer Flexible Work Hours and Locations
Many employees are stressed because they’re constantly trying to balance their personal commitments with being in the office at specific times. Or, they have a long commute to the office every day that’s draining, stressful, and expensive. By offering them flexible schedules, you provide them with the independence they need to pick up their kids from school, work the hours when they’re truly productive, or run their weekly errands when other businesses are open. And by allowing them to work from home at least 1 day a week, you give them a chance to avoid their daily stressful commute in rush hour traffic to the office.
Design Your Office Space to Be Stress-Free
This is something that’s simple to change but is often overlooked. If your office is made up of nothing more than gray cubicles and a dysfunctional coffeemaker, it doesn’t create an inviting and warm space for employees to work and interact with one another, stress-free. To alleviate a drab office space, display lush green plants around the office, and provide warm and inviting smells like vanilla or cinnamon. Arrange working areas so there are a few private places your employees can go when they need to take a call or focus on a project without distractions from their cubicle neighbors. And put up pictures with bright colors, and offer healthy snacks in the breakroom (e.g., carrots and nuts) to boost energy.
Host Stress-Reducing Activities at Regular Intervals
While you may not always have a budget for a fancy company retreat to an exotic locale every year, there are plenty of stress-reducing activities you can host at least once a month that don’t cost that much. Here are a few:
- Happy hours at your favorite establishment across the street from your office
- Spa days—offer employees massages and manicures at the office
- Puppy play day—allow your employees to bring their dogs to work
Include an All-Inclusive Benefits Package
One of the best ways to reduce stress among your employees is to offer them a comprehensive benefits package with options that reduce stress at all levels. Here’s what to include in your benefits package:
- Paid Time Off
- Physical Health Options and Related Paid Services
- Mental-Health Wellness Options and Related Paid Services
- Financial Wellness and Opportunities to Reduce Debt
Part 2 of this article will appear in tomorrow’s Advisor.