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6 free stress management ideas for employees

Even though many of us long to live stress-free, the reality is that stress is unavoidable. However, that doesn’t mean we have to experience it all the time. As an employer, you have an opportunity to offer stress management tools for your diligent workforce.

Helping employees manage their stress levels is a win-win for all parties. Employees who have the tools to handle the pressure are healthier and more productive, which is also great for business. However, strategies for managing stress in the workplace are not always given much thought – especially when companies don’t have a large budget for employee wellness.

Fret not! This Pacific Prime Dubai article offers 6 stress management ideas for employees that won’t break the bank.

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The importance of stress management in the workplace

Offices typically aren’t that relaxing. With looming deadlines and seemingly endless meetings, many of them couldn’t be further from calm. Working remotely can also make it even harder for employees to manage stress. While some thrive working from home, others find it difficult to focus with one eye on work on the other on the children. On top of that, it can be hard to leave work at work when everything is under the same roof.

Even offices that are designed to promote calm can still be a major source of stress for the majority of the workforce. It might not be possible to eliminate the stress of working life completely, but employers can help employees manage stress and reduce its effects. Some benefits of employee stress management include:

  • Increased employee morale
  • Improved productivity
  • Strengthened communication
  • Fewer workplace conflicts
  • Helping employees to identify stressors
  • Promoting team building

6 ways to manage stress at work

Employee stress management doesn’t have to cost you much either. Here are some free stress management ideas that can help your employees stress less and enjoy work more.

1. Start an office walking challenge

Lack of mobility is one of the main reasons why employees experience stress while at work. It’s hard to imagine that sitting is stressful, but extended periods of sitting in front of a computer screen or at a desk can be harmful. Sitting for eight hours can leave people feeling stressed out, especially when you add office syndrome to the mix.

One simple solution is to encourage employees to get up and walk. Walking lowers stress, acts as a mental reset, and gives employees a chance to socialize and connect with their walking partners. However, most people aren’t going to do it as often as they should without some incentive. For a less stressed office, try:

  • Holding a walking challenge to reward those who get the most steps in
  • Hosting walking meetings to help people walk more
  • Getting employees to set timers to stand up and move every hour

2. Offer stretching exercises

The human body is not designed to sit at a desk for hours on end. Sitting with our backs hunched in front of a screen day in and day out is not just a recipe for soreness, but stress as well. Regular stretching routines offer physical and emotional benefits, making them ideal to incorporate into office life.

But how do you get employees to prioritize stretching? To start, they have to know how to stretch properly. You could post weekly stretches in the break room or share them on your intranet/newsletter. In-office yoga classes with a professional instructor are a great perk for a stressed-out workforce if your budget allows for it.

3. Integrate play into the workplace

For some reason, work and play are seen as things that do not coexist – which is likely why offices are such stressful places, to begin with. While office pranks are best left to employees, employers can encourage structured play by:

  • Starting a fantasy league that the whole office can join
  • Providing games like Scrabble in the break room
  • Encouraging teams to play online games together when they need a break

Adding a ping pong table to the office break room can do wonders for stress reduction and enjoyment. You might be able to find someone who’s willing to donate theirs. Regardless of how you choose to add more play into the workplace, the key is to keep it simple.

4. Add plants and greenery

It’s no secret that spending time in nature and getting some sun does wonders for the soul. Unfortunately, offices are often lacking in both. Adding plants and greenery in a workspace has been found to improve employee productivity by 15%. Even landscape imagery, such as wallpaper that looks like an outdoor setting, can improve employee productivity.

What’s more, having live plants calls for natural light, which is ideal for reducing eye strain and monitor glare, and helps purify the air. Employees who work in green offices feel like their employer cares about their health and wellbeing, so encourage employees to bring their own plants in and provide what you can.

5. Allow pets in the office

Many companies that let employees bring their pets to the office notice benefits such as better work-life balance and stress reduction. Allowing employees to bring their furry friend to work means they don’t have to worry about their pet being home alone all day or paying for someone to look after it. On top of that, they no longer have to hurry home once the workday ends to let their pet out, feed them, etc., so they can stay later if necessary.

According to a study, employees who bring dogs to work had lower levels of cortisol, the stress hormone. Office pets also give owners a reason to take a break, which helps them reset and improves productivity. Teams working remotely can share cute pictures of pets via Slack to take a mental break from work and improve employee morale.

6. Encourage employees to take breaks

Breaks are a must for staying healthy, happy, and productive at work. Sadly, many employees don’t take enough breaks during the workday – and some don’t even stop for lunch.

A reason that many employees skip breaks is that they feel guilty, so start by making sure your company culture is break-friendly. Talk about the benefits of breaks at your next meeting and remind employees that breaks are encouraged. You can also suggest break-friendly apps such as Pomodor and Donut. Lastly, remember to lead by example.

Invest in employee stress management tools

If (or when) your budget allows for it, consider investing in employee stress management tools as part of your employee benefits package. For example, you could provide:

  • Training courses on stress management strategies
  • Wellness programs and initiatives
  • Stress management resources

You could also invite guest speakers to chat with employees about topics like stress management skills and financial planning. The list goes on.

Need help with employee benefits in Dubai? As a leading employee benefits specialist and company & group health insurance broker, Pacific Prime Dubai can help you find the most suitable solutions. Contact us to get started today!

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Content Creator at Pacific Prime Dubai
​​Jantra Jacobs is a content writer at Pacific Prime. On a typical workday, she writes and edits articles, guides, and anything else word-related. She loves creating content that is both easy to understand and enjoyable to read.

In her free time, she’s likely to be writing poetry and prose, geeking out on her latest interests, reading, or practicing yoga.