“I felt like ripping my hair off by the end of the day!”  “I just wanted to quit my job and make a run for it.” “I used to just dread mornings, all I wanted to do was call in sick… everyday!” These may sound like convincing excuses by an employee who’s trying to procrastinate but they are, in fact, true confessions of a victim: a victim of stress. And I assume we all have used these or some others at some point in time at our workplace.

With the globalization, one of the fallouts has been that employees have been bombarded with excess workload to meet the water-tight deadlines. The outcome-stress, which takes a direct toll on productivity as people tend to slack when burdened with huge portions of work. Fortunately, organisations are waking up to this reality and are manifesting their concern for their employees’ health by carving out several initiatives to build a stress-free environment for them.

A Weighty Issue

It is a well-known fact that most people tend to ignore their health when under tremendous duress. While some overeat, others just ignore proper meals. To battle this growing trend, many organisations are trying to encourage healthy living at the work place. Many employees stretch their work timings to meet deadlines. In the process of doing so, they ignore their health, have poor concentration and bad eating habits. There seems a latent need to have something that will help these employees in addressing their concerns over stress and health related issues.

One step is introducing a health byte initiative for all the employees to educate them about various health risks relating to stress. The basic objective is to encourage employees who wanted to participate and make a concerted effort at reaching the optimum desired weight.

Another initiative is to make working-out more exciting, start competitions for all the employees for a quarter with the basic objective to help the employees to reach their desired weight in a matter of three months and encourage healthy living. During the competition, regular tips are required to be shared to help participants in their endeavour and also award cash prizes, when they meet their goal.

Many organisations are now creating self-awareness by joining hands with gyms and healthcare institutes in an attempt to nurture the health and wellness of their employees. One of the initiatives we started in our organization was having a fully equipped gym at our workplace. We also had a fitness consultant to advise employees on heath, exercise, diet etc.

It’s all in your mind

Apart from tie-ups with gyms, many organisations are also helping their employees beat stress by conducting yoga and meditation classes at the work place. Meditation and yoga classes in office are a way of relaxing the employees. Apart from that many companies have started yoga and spirituality camp for all their employees across the country.

Want to indulge?

Ask any woman, what is the best way to beat stress and she will tell you: ‘Shop till you drop’. Taking cue from the above, Unisource Group has come up with an innovative solution to delight their employees. They have started an employee-centric privilege programme called ‘Indulge’, which aims to make available special privileges and offers to the employees of the company.

They started Indulge in early 2005 and built strategic alliances with providers of various brands, F&B outlets, lifestyle products, electronics and cellular services and resorts, whereby employees can avail of discounts from 5-30 per cent. ‘Indulge’ is renewed every six months with new and attractive additions, and is re-launched with an event called ‘Indulge Week’ where employees were given access to the new and existing affiliates. Affiliates offer discount coupons, giveaways and host competitions at the company premises which also provide phenomenal visibility for them.

Indulge Week giveaways and activities in the past have included pizza eating competitions, ‘panja’ competitions, free holiday giveaways, free gym memberships, donut days, free checkups and health talks with regard to maintaining a healthy lifestyle and diet.

Stress-free work zone

Combating stress at the workplace cannot merely be done by addressing the stress points. Some times stress could be rooted to unfair practices and inadequate compensation which could also take a toll on productivity. The key factor to creating a stress-free environment for employees is setting clear expectations, having a regular and consistent reward and recognition programme, emphasising on training and employee development, creating a transparent and open work culture with clear channels of communication – adds up in creating a work environment that is secure and minimises stress for all employees.

Reflecting on the benefits of having stress busting initiatives at the workplace the Industry experts says if your employees are healthy, they have a fresh approach to work and this could do wonders. Organisations who have realised this mantra are increasingly bending over backwards to ensure that their people are fit and ready for the battle.

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