5 ways companies are fighting workplace stress

Charlotte Nicol
Last updated on 8th July 2020
3 min read

Are your employees so stressed that they’re unable to cope?

According to the Mental Health Foundation, in the last year, 74% of UK adults have felt so stressed they have been unable to cope.

The writing’s on the wall: stress is an epidemic.

Its effects on business can be devastating. Work-related stress is the leading cause of workplace sickness. In fact, it costs the UK economy £6.5 billion every year.

Don’t get us wrong, occasionally a small amount of stress has been scientifically shown to be a good thing. It can push your employees to do their best.

However, an excessive amount over prolonged periods of time can have a profoundly negative impact on your employees’ wellbeing and that of your organization.

So how do you make sure employees aren’t getting too stressed?

Whilst there’s no one-size-fits-all answer, there’s no reason you can’t get creative when it comes to reducing workplace stress. Here are five examples.

Harrods offers its staff financial coaching

Money worries are a cause of stress that can have a serious impact on an employee’s concentration at work. A Global Benefits Attitudes survey revealed that 48% of US employees worry about their current financial state and 59% worry about their future financial state.

At Harrods, the London department store, employees are offered a range of financial support products including financial education workshops and low-cost loans.

As employers, we’re not always in a position to pay our staff more, as much as we’d like to. Yet simple workshops like these can have a huge and positive effect on employees.

Perpetual Guardian went down to a four-day work week

Research has shown that employees are productive for only about three hours of the day, yet our working hours are more than double that.

That’s why one large company in New Zealand took the progressive step of reducing their employees’ hours so that they now work a four-day week.

Working with the University of Auckland to monitor productivity, estate planning company Perpetual Guardian found that their 240 staff were more productive during a four-day week than a five-day week.

Not just that, they found that employees’ sense of work-life balance went from 54% to 78%, stress went down, and the missed hours didn’t affect job performance at all.

Purina thinks everyone should allow pets in the office

We know not every office can offer this benefit. If your office has allergy sufferers or if you don’t have access to food, water and an outside space to exercise your furry friends, this one may not be for you.

Yet for those who want to bring their cats, dogs or any other viable animal to work, Missouri-based pet food company Purina approve of the idea – they even have a handy online guide on how to make your workplace pet-friendly.

By opening your office to pets, you encourage staff to buy pets of their own; and, owning a pet has numerous health benefits including lower cholesterol and better heart health. Furthermore, even the act of petting or stroking a dog has been shown to reduce blood pressure.

Having pets in the office encourages staff to get out and about during their breaks; dog owners walk, on average, around 80% further during the day.

It’s one of the top benefits that people ask for. Purina found that 40% of people say having pets at work improves their work-life balance, 45% say it creates a more relaxed environment and 50% see it as a benefit.

DaVita helps its employees apply for college

DaVita, an international provider of kidney care services, has a novel approach to retaining the best staff: they provide their employees with college admissions coaching.

Parents and children have access to the service, which guides them through the application process as well as offering them financial aid and planning. Experts will even review employees’ children’s applications before they submit them and provide one-to-ones to advise them through the process.

Research shows 90% of participants in such schemes say the benefit reduces their feelings of stress and gives them a greater ability to focus on their work.

Chanje helps employees to upskill – in any area they want

When you’re struggling to cope with stress in the workplace, it can be hard to enjoy life outside of work. Likewise, when you’re struggling to find the time to enjoy life, it can impact your work.

That’s why Chanje invests in training for employees in any aspect of their life – whether it’s Microsoft Excel, or surfing.

The Los Angeles-based electric vehicle company encourages workers to allocate 20% of their working hours to self-improvement. They can choose to follow a curriculum that includes coaching, meditation, advice on giving and receiving feedback and more.

Each employee then has a scorecard to check off as they reach their personal targets – and these targets are even linked to their salary reviews.

Is it effective? The founder and Chief Executive of Chanje says productivity is higher than at any company he has ever known before.

What really gets your employees productive?

Stress, and too much of it, isn’t productive. It impacts employees’ wellbeing and can increase attrition and absence. Isn’t it time to say goodbye to stress-related burnout?

That’s why we’ve interviewed 3,500 global employees to reveal the truth about Why your workforce isn’t working. Download the eBook today.

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