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The American Institute of Stress reports 80% of workers feel stressed on the job.  We are working longer and harder and as a results stress is one of the biggest factors in accidents, absenteeism and employee turnover.   As an entrepreneur what can you do? Bottom-line:  Be Proactive.  Offer programs to reduce stress and improve your teams overall health.

Here are a few ideas to getting you and your team headed in the right direction.

Be flexible, not like a Cirque du Soleil performer (although that would be awesome!). I was thinking more like adopting a flex-time.  This can be a huge stress reliever. When a global research company, Eli Lilly instituted a flex week option, a survey found that the employees with the most flexibility and control over their hours reported more job satisfaction.  Source: CBS News

Clear, open communication.  It’s critical to keeping the lines of communication going. It reduces office gossip and conjecture. It is an avenue for two-way communication. The more you talk to your team the more they will share their concerns and thoughts.  Give your team a voice. The more you listen to your team, really listen (hold back the urge to form a reply in your head) you’ll be able to interpret, validate, and provide feedback. Source: Skills You Need

Take your team roller skating. O.k. could be a great idea and maybe not! But healthy active employees handle stress better. Perhaps institute a Lunch and Learn series.  Sponsor nutritional speakers and health coaches to speak with your employees. Healthy employees tend to be happier. Source: Center for Disease Control  

Take your team to a comedy club, bring in a laughter yoga instructor, your team will be in stitches.  Laughter enhances teamwork, relieves stress and boosts the immune system. Encourage healthy social interaction. “Laughter is the best medicine “– Proverb   Source:  The Help Guide

Keep your employees hydrated. Make drinking water accessible. Stress can cause dehydration, and dehydration can cause stress.  What a vicious cycle! (Oh that reminds me of something else, biking, that could be good, too!) Source:  Web MD

Walk and chew gum. Bear with me here. You have a meeting to discuss an upcoming project, right? Instead of bringing the team in to your office consider taking that meeting outside for a walk. Taking your meeting out into the fresh air can boost productivity, reduce stress, increase camaraderie and build teamwork.  Oh yea, about the chewing gum (when I read this I had to share) a 2008 study by Andrew Scholey, Ph.D. found chewing gum helped relieve anxiety, improve alertness and reduce stress. I wonder if that’s why more and more athletes chew gum. Source: Cleveland Clinic and Medical News Today

The office environment.  Sherry Burton Ways, author of Feel Good Spaces noted marketing research has shown that approximately 80% of what we perceive or experience is based upon the visual sense of our environment. So are the Beach Boys singing Good Vibrations or is your team seeing flashbacks of Shawshank Redemption in their office environment? You may not have the budget to create an office space like Google’s  yet you can help minimize distractions, provide good ventilation, plants, good lighting and great organizational system. These are stepping stones to a positive, stress-less environment for you and your team. Source: Forbes