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How to relieve stress in the workplace

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As identified in a Watson Wyatt Worldwide of 275 employers stress is taking a toll on employee productivity. Fortunately there are simple and inexpensive ways to relieve workplace stress to create a happier, more productive culture for your employees. Here are some suggestions:

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Increase lighting

A well-lit workplace, particularly if natural lighting, will increase your employee’s outlook. Optimism feeding hormones are released when lighting is bright and cheerful.

Spread out

Do not overcrowd your employees. Cramped surroundings send a subliminal message that employees are not valued. It also provokes claustrophobic feelings, which add stress. Provide as much space as possible to each employee. Sometimes this is as easy as lowering the walls of cubicles, other times workspaces will seem larger if you simply unblock or un-tint windows (which also helps brighten the office)


Spread live plants throughout the workplace as they create calmness. Research shows that live plants provide a sense of peacefulness. Make sure the plants stay well-watered as wilting plants create more stress.

Job fit

Align an individual employee’s ability to handle stress with the normal stress of each position -- the use of employee of assessments is vital in this endeavor.

Sick pay benefits

Encourage employees to cut absenteeism through programs that reward attendance. Paying unused sick pay may increase presenteeism, which adds to stress, so finding the right balance between encouraging healthy attendances while discouraging the stress from an unexpected absence. Instead of paying unused sick pay, consider is changing “sick time” to “personal time-off” that can be scheduled in advance.

©2014 Max Impact, used with permission.

Resources for creating a winning workplace culture:

Cultural roadmap, a look at the contents of the character within each of us.

Max Impact offers free leadership training and development materials including Cultural Faux Pas and Culture Quizzes

Keep your workforce motivated with these motivational quotes.

Books about workplace cultures.


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