Work Stress is Bad for Business

work stress

Mary Gordon, an Account Manager at Zahra Media Group, is a Reiki fan and organiser of the weekly ZMG lunchtime walk.

In 2013, 55,000 workers in Ireland were affected by work-related illness, resulting in a total loss of 790,000 productive days.

According to a study carried out in 2015, over 80% of employees were suffering increased levels of stress and that stress was having a knock on effect on productivity, workplace morale and company staffing. Now that we’ve moved on from the recession and some companies are trying to provide a better work-life balance, hopefully this trend is on the downward trajectory.

While companies can do a lot to help their employees feel valued, not overworked and able to maintain a work-life balance, we think employees can also do a lot to contribute, too.

Here at Zahra we think we’ve come up with some good ways to help us get through those more trying days….

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Start moving

Set up a fitness group – get a walking or running group together and get out of the office at lunchtimes. We all know how beneficial it is to get out and breath some fresh air. It helps recharge our batteries and our brains so why not get a few like-minded colleagues together and hit the pavement.

If you’ve space in the office, organise a morning class yoga, pilates or meditation class to set people up for the day. It’s amazing how an hour spent doing one of these activities can help the brain focus and people start the day off feeling much more positive.

Join a club after work or if you can’t find one that works for you, why not set up your own? You can start a jogging group with the neighbours from your apartment block or housing estate or even look for like-minded people on Meetup. This can be a great way to relieve the stresses of work, get fit and to meet new pals while you’re at it.

Propose a toast

Have Friday drinks once in a while, which can help people unwind after a busy work week and also encourages people to get to know colleagues from other departments who they wouldn’t normally interact with. It can be a casual Friday at 4.30pm kind of thing to help wash away the challenges of the week and have a laugh. If your company doesn’t like to endorse in-house drinking during work hours you could have a few pots of tea and some biscuits. It’s ‘almost’ the same!

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We love the idea of having a Suggestion Box at work that people can contribute to. This is a great way for employers to take a pulse of the organisation and learn what would help colleagues feel happier at work. It may also end in some great benefits like flexible lunch hours, fun outings or even employee of the month, so it’s well worth doing.

Interestingly, in terms of what help employees are looking for more of from work, nearly 60% said that financial or retirement planning advice and online training and development access would be welcomed. It was during one of our ‘Friday work drinks’ that we all started chatting about this and so our boss offered to get in an expert on financial planning for a Lunch and Learn, which helped everyone learn more about how they can plan for their future.

Consider the alternatives

Suggest a massage therapist comes in once every week or two to offer employees a 10 minute head massage – this helps you step away from any work-related challenges, recalibrate and come back more energised for the rest of your day. If your bosses need some persuasion, you could offer to split the cost with them as it’s a win-win for everyone. All you need is a small meeting room and a hairbrush for afterwards!

Acupuncture – a lot of people under stress at work report migraines, headaches and muscle pain. Acupuncture can really help with this if you find a good therapist and you can usually claim some of the cost back through your health insurance or even on the Med 1 form – how informative are we!

Reiki – this is one most people would think this of as airy-fairy heebee-geeby stuff. But according to my sources, which I’m not at liberty to divulge, people say they find Reiki thoroughly relaxing and even healing. It’s reported to relieve mental stress and even physical through energy and is also going to be covered on some health insurance plans so that you can claim some money back. Whatever works, eh!!?

Hopefully some of the above suggestions will work for you and your team as a happy workplace can really be a healthy productive one!

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