The “State of Employee Engagement”, a recent study administered by Office Vibe, is one of the largest of its kind. Thousands of employees from more than 150 countries were interviewed about their stress levels at work. The results were surprising. More than half of employees noted that their career was affecting their personal life and they often had to complete some work at home. Around 40% cite not getting a full night’s sleep on a regular basis. Almost 50% say they are stressed at the workplace. The most appalling, however, is that 20% of employees are concerned they will be laid off within the next 3-6 months.
There are two main things for companies to do to counteract their employees’ stress.
1. Communication is key! Open communication between employer and employee can reduce or even eliminate their concerns completely. Sadly, due to lack of communication, many employers are not aware of their employees’ stress. According to WorkplaceTrends.com, more than 60% of employers believe their employees have a healthy work-life balance, but only 45% of employees actually believe they have enough time to relax during the week.
2. Lead by example. Employers should convey a healthy work-life balance. Employees will refrain from taking time off work if their boss never goes on vacation, therefore heightening their own stress levels.
Since employers are not always conscious of stress in the workplace, you may have to take some steps on your own. Here are the most efficient ways to reduce stress in your life:
1. Use relaxation techniques such as yoga or deep breathing. While it doesn’t take much time or effort to complete such activities, they can have a monumental effect on your happiness and stress levels. However, it is important that you practice these exercises on a constant basis to ensure they will have the desired effect.
2. Exercise! This is a “keystone habit” which means it can lead to other positive changes or habits in your life. For example, people who exercise regularly tend to eat a healthier diet and have increased energy. Exercising will also decrease the amount of cortisol (stress hormone) in your body.
3. Eat a balanced diet. Remember to drink plenty of water as well. A restricted diet leads to heightened cortisol levels in your body.
4. Befriend your coworkers. Having friends at work means you have a social support system both at home and at the workplace. A strong social support system has been shown to reduce cortisol levels.