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The expectations for a “normal” year were disrupted as the pandemic welcomed us into the new year. Waves of anxiety and chaos continue to impact the workplace. Employers and employees alike are in need of better solutions to manage their reality. Stress relief in the workplace needs modern, creative, and sustainable solutions to navigate the challenges.  

Mini-breaks

The harder the task the more important it is for employees to take breaks. Stress relief in the workplace happens one mini-break at a time. Encourage employees to alternate hard tasks with easier ones and include mini-breaks in their daily rhythm. Use an alarm or alert to nudge the team to stand up, grab a glass of water or healthy snack, stretch, and then return to their work better equipped to overcome workplace stress.

Do not disturb time 

Whether observing meeting free days or designating specific times of each day off-limits for meetings, implementing do not disturb time during the week will provide necessary stress relief in the workplace. Employees need time to focus without disruption, especially when tackling the hard tasks. Disruptions lead to stress, lack of productivity, and disengagement for team members. 

Creative scheduling

Unexpected schedule changes and challenges are part of daily life for most Americans. Allow employees to adjust their work schedule as needed. Give them permission to flex with their life and empower them to their work during the hours that work best for them. Be clear and fair about performance expectations, but bring empathy to the table, too. Doing so will bring stress relief to the workplace along with gratitude and better engagement from employees.   

Unstructured social time

Isolation has led to poor relational wellbeing as many have been coping with languishing during the past two years. Remote and hybrid teams need to reconnect with their peers during unstructured social time. Plan a remote happy hour for colleagues to catch up with one another. Hop on Zoom during the lunch break to recreate the break room experience and see how this provides stress relief in the workplace for your team.    

Nap pods or quiet spaces

For organizations that are back to work in person, offering quiet spaces or nap pods for employees to experience stress relief in the workplace is a good option. Open-concept workspaces are cost-effective and foster some collaboration, but employees also need a dedicated space to relax and be alone during the workday. 

Get organized

Stress is often elevated through disorganization and a chaotic workspace. Offering classes or training on how to organize the workday or how to organize your desk for success can help alleviate stress in the workplace. In-person employees need this as well as those who are working remotely and may need additional help organizing and separating their work space from their life.

Bring the chocolate

Adding a dose of chocolate to a healthy daily diet is a tasty way to provide stress relief in the workplace. Some research shows that eating 1.4 oz of dark chocolate each day reduces cortisol and helps people feel less stressed. Continue to offer other healthy snacks in the break room, but don’t forget to include the chocolate, too. 

Stress relief in the workplace is the responsibility of employer and employee alike. Sought-after employers understand this and do their part to encourage employees to take advantage of their benefits and support individual employee efforts as well.