Stress can develop in any job, even if you love what you do. Deadlines, presentations, big projects… office culture is full of potential stressful situations. A build-up of stress can have negative consequences for employees from fatigue to a lack of motivation and anxiety. Stress not only takes a personal toll on employees, it can also take its toll on the business. It is important not to overlook workplace stress as it can undermine employee engagement and impact peoples’ ability to work effectively. Instead, employers need to create a working environment that inspires employees to work hard and enjoy coming to work every day. They also need to focus on counteracting sources of stress and giving employees a chance to feel motivated and re-energised. Here are 7 ways to help employees de-stress on the job. INTRODUCE WORKPLACE WELLNESS SCHEMES Exercise and a healthy lifestyle are imperative when it comes to combating workplace related stress. Employee wellness schemes, such as introducing office gym classes or running business-wide healthy eating challenges is a good way to help employees unwind and feel better about their well-being. CREATE SOCIAL ACTIVITY Employees spend a lot of time with their co-workers and therefore it's important they get along. The more people enjoy their time at work, the better the atmosphere will be – and a better office atmosphere leads to higher levels of productivity, creativity and collaboration. Setting aside an hour now and again to bring your team together in a fun environment can be great for reducing employee stress, boosting morale and team building. COMMUNICATE WITH YOUR EMPLOYEES Open communication is critical in leadership; keeping employees up to date regarding changes, expectations and their own performance not only keeps them on track but also reduces feelings of stress and anxiety – after all there is nothing worse than being kept in the dark. It is important to keep employees abreast of the latest developments and departmental changes. What’s more, open communication is a two way street and the more employers converse with employees, the more likely employees are to share concerns, ideas and thoughts making for much stronger working relationships and a healthier overall company culture. PROVIDE A ‘CHILL OUT’ SPACE IN THE OFFICE Sometimes people need 15 minutes to relax, re-group and disengage from technology and general work related interactions. Providing a quiet room or a chill out zone where employees can spend 15 minutes with their thoughts can dramatically help reduce workplace stress. After taking a short break free from distractions, people often feel refreshed and re-energised to tackle the rest of the day. THINK ABOUT THE OFFICE ENVIRONMENT Not many businesses can afford to build its own office, complete with health food restaurants and indoor bike lanes; however there is always room for improvement, particularly when it could boost productivity and overall job satisfaction. Small changes such as a brighter office, more modern office furniture, plants in the office, new pictures – even small changes like new office cutlery and kitchenware will make the working environment conducive to work. ALLOW FLEXIBLE AND REMOTE WORKING A major stress inducer, is non flexible working hours. Allowing employees to work remotely or flexibly is proven to be good for morale. Positives of this is that you are trusting employees to manage their own time, taking away added stress such as child care considerations from working parents. It is important to note that flexible working must be managed with open communication and by outlining clear expectations and parameters.