Stress can have serious impact on your physical and emotional health — but it can also have a significant effect on the financial health of your business. Unresolved stress can indirectly lead to extraneous costs, including everything from increased short-term disability claims to higher workers’ compensation costs due to burnout and accident-related errors. Don’t want to leave your company vulnerable to unforeseen problems? Prevent future issues with these stress-management techniques.
1. Conduct a Small Business Workplace Stress Assessment
Dr. Dana Gionta, a clinical psychologist and coauthor of From Stressed to Centered: A Practical Guide to a Healthier and Happier You, suggests creating a workplace evaluation to help identify what stressors are impacting your business. She suggests “taking proactive steps to either eliminate or significantly reduce the impact or frequency of the stressors” once you find out what top 3 to 5 things are stressing out employees. Developing a wellness program, for example, can address potential health issues. Even small, inexpensive programs are effective if they target employees’ mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual health. A few of her suggestions include providing educational courses and health classes focusing on work/life balance and stress-management techniques, creating a wellness newsletter, scheduling a company-wide 20-minute daily break and having a psychologist or coach meet with interested employees.
“Increasingly, research shows well-designed and employee engaged wellness programs improve employees’ health and well-being, as well as businesses’ bottom line,” Gionta says. “The financial health of small businesses can be notably improved through healthcare savings and increased employee performance — two positive outcomes of an effective wellness program,”
2. Use the Power of the Mind
Dan Guerra, who has a doctorate in psychology, is also a coauthor of From Stressed To Centered. He says two stress-management techniques, “Power of the Pause” and “Thought Stopping,” can help both business leaders and employees minimize stress. In Power of the Pause, individuals take intentional pauses throughout the day to change their physical environments, turn off their electronic devices, shut their eyes, or talk to a colleague. Guerra explains, “When you feel tension creeping into the back of your neck, heart beating rapidly, thoughts racing, stomach knotting up, and/or the beginning of negative thinking, press the pause button on what you are doing and reorient yourself for a moment.” By doing that, he says, you “train the brain to stay centered in the face of stress.” Thought Stopping, or “giving yourself the command to stop unhealthy thoughts,” involves “identifying which thoughts may not be entirely true, helpful, or promote your effectiveness.” He says when experiencing negative, repetitive, and worrisome thoughts such as, “Everyone thinks I’m incapable of doing my job,” say, “Stop!” and redirect your attention to a positive and true statement such as, “I’m doing the best I can.”
3. Seek Help
“Business owners and leaders must personally value and model both good stress management and self-care behaviors regularly,” says Gionta. “Stress is contagious, and if the owner and key leaders are not managing their stress well, the adverse effects of such behavior will impact employees.” She says if you’re having trouble coping with stress, seeking professional help from a therapist or an executive coach can have a positive impact on your leadership skills and work environment.