Meetings. Deadlines. That weird smell from the office fridge that drives you crazy. Work is often stressful, and American workers especially feel the pinch. According to the Attitudes in the American Workplace report, 80 percent of workers feel stress on the job. Nearly half say they need help dealing with stress at work. High workloads and interacting with other people top the list of workers’ concerns, but there’s plenty office managers can do to brighten everyone’s day. From catered lunches to wellness initiatives, here are five stress management ideas that promote community and better productivity at work.
When stress levels in offices peak, colleagues get grouchy with one another. In the worst case scenario, this leads to sniping, losses in productivity, and avoidance—habits that make hitting those deadlines even harder.
Encouraging employees to take breaks and connect with one another can help, suggests Dr. Christina Maslach, a leading researcher on the science of burnout. “What we found is that people’s health, well-being, everything in life, is way better if you’re connected with other people,” Dr. Maslach explained to the New York Times.
“That social network, that each of you have each other’s back, that they’re there for you and you’re there for them, that’s like money in the bank. That’s a precious, precious resource,” she added.
Taking regular, short breaks improves productivity and helps maxed-out workers deal with stress at work—so give your colleagues a reason to step back from their computers. Consider ordering catered lunches once a week, so your employees have more opportunities to unwind together without the added stress of making food at home.
While we love a good lunch-and-learn or catered breakfast meeting as much as the next person, there is such a thing as meeting overkill. Not only can meetings without specific agendas waste time, but they also interrupt teams who are working hard to meet deadlines. If you’re a team leader, consider whether you can cut back on meetings to let your colleagues accomplish their to-do lists. Adding uninterrupted work time back into your team’s day is one of the best ways to help them deal with stress at work—and it’s an instant productivity booster, too.
Many offices have launched wellness initiatives in the past decade, from health-conscious catered lunches to anti-stress strategy sessions. Still others need to improvise. Ask your HR department to support your efforts to combat stress in the office. Help them organize optional meditation classes, or change your standing catering order to include more healthy afternoon snacks in the break room. (Low blood sugar doesn’t do anyone any favors.) HR can also work directly with supervisors or company mentors to ensure they have adequate stress management training to support the needs of their direct reports.
Sitting down for long periods of time can kill your mood and zap your productivity. When you’re dealing with stress at work, take some time to stand up and move around every hour. Request a standing desk to help you stay more focused and alert. On your break, remember to drink plenty of water and find a healthy snack with protein or fiber to keep you full and satisfied. Your catering manager will know exactly which snacks to order to power up your afternoon!
Our workaday culture places a huge emphasis on professional value over personal fulfillment. Sometimes the best way of dealing with stress is to focus on your life outside of work. Meet up with your friends to see a movie, or nab a babysitter and make that long overdue dinner reservation. The next time your office schedules an after-work happy hour, you’ll actually feel like going—and you might even convince your friends to come and meet your favorite colleagues, too.
Need more healthy lunch ideas for your catering order? We’ve got you covered.