Workplace stress is a common, costly problem for businesses across the country. Stress-related issues cost American companies hundreds of billions of dollars a year in lost productivity and health care spending, and are often compounded by external factors during the busy holiday season.
Luckily there are simple strategies you can employ to help alleviate holiday stress in your office. Read on for 10 creative ways to help your staff members stay happy and healthy into the New Year:
1. Say “om”. Fitness expert Stephanie Mansour, CEO of Step It Up with Steph, suggests offering a yoga class for employees during their lunch hour. “I teach yoga to office [workers] at lunchtime and the employees say it’s the highlight of their week. They leave feeling less stressed, and like they can be more productive.”
2. Run late. Mansour also suggests allowing employees to come in later one morning per week. “A change in routine helps keep them fresh and also helps them view you in a more positive light,” she says.
3. Lend a hand. Karlin Sloan, CEO and founder of Karlin Sloan & Company, suggests bringing in a massage therapist who gives massages to employees in their work chairs.
4. Shop ‘till you drop. Sloan also recommends hiring a personal shopper to assist your staff members with their holiday shopping. “Bring everyone into a conference room and surprise them. They only need to get the list together and provide cash,” she says.
5. Have a ball. “Another creative way to alleviate stress is to start a competition that lets off steam,” Sloan suggests. “One team I worked with last year bought a Wii Fit and turned their shared workspace into a temporary bowling alley.”
6. Take a break. Sloan suggests giving your employees certificates that can be cashed in for two-hour-long breaks.
7. Get moving. “Exercise reduces stress and helps burn calories,” Schiller notes. “Your employees could go caroling to other offices, take a field trip and go sledding, participate in a holiday charity walk, hold a dance competition, or anything that gets them active and out of the routine of sitting.”
8. Drink up. “Drinking water reduces stress and promotes weight loss,” Schiller says. “Encourage your employees to replace their soda, lattes and eggnog with water, and start a campaign to donate the money they would have spent on those sugary beverages to charity.”
9. Laugh out loud. “Laughter reduces stress,” Schiller says. “Hold a ‘funniest holiday story’ competition and have employees vote on the best story.”
10. Listen closely. Ask your employees if they would prefer a gift, a bonus or paid time off as their holiday reward. Their answers may surprise you, Schiller says.
Showing your employees that you’re invested in their well-being during the holiday season will go a long way toward fostering a healthy work environment that lasts year-round.