Modern technology means that we’re constantly connected and bombarded with stimuli. In the high-growth startup environment, the intensity is even greater. HR professionals have the obligation to promote wellness in the workplace and help employees manage stress.
Employees’ well-being is deeply connected to how they perform, and it’s been scientifically proven that wellness affects business results. Managing stress successfully is key to productivity and it’s our responsibility to both help our businesses and help our people.
Encouraging wellness in the workplace is a win-win that impacts both the top line and the bottom line.
There are two basic parts to this. One is individual and the other is organizational; HR professionals can address both. Here are some tips for how to do it.
1. Teach employees to focus on work-life integration.
There’s a lot of talk about work-life balance. While that’s still relevant, I’m a big believer in work-life integration. Integration is all about the choices you make, the boundaries you set, and you manage the work environment. Being able to integrate work into your life successfully is a skill, and HR can help employees develop these skills.
2. Organize your workplace with stress reduction in mind.
The way you design your office matters for employees’ stress levels. At Sisense, we have an open space where people can work and another open space where people can just hang out and relax. Additionally, there’s a quiet room we designed when we moved into a new space. Originally I was unsure about that, but it’s worked out wonderfully. Sometimes people need that space to go in and focus.
I also pay attention to the way we manage food in the office. We want healthy food available rather than sugary food that will just increase stress levels. Now, we have people asking for fruit and veggies which is great to see.
3. Implement activities that promote wellness.
Providing wellness activities in the wellness makes a big difference. This year we started doing yoga in the office. It’s a good way for people to focus and maintain both physical and mental wellbeing. We also provide coaching to employees and managers about how they can healthily integrate work into their lives.
4. Help people help themselves through mindfulness.
In a healthy workplace, people are able to help themselves manage their own stress levels. I’m a big advocate of mindfulness. Headspace is an easy way to bring mindfulness into the workplace. It can really help to do breathing techniques at the beginning of the day and exercise throughout the day. A walk can also be a great opportunity for managers to hold one-on-ones with employees.
5. Use surveys to gauge stress levels.
Surveys are a powerful tool for HR professionals to determine engagement levels but also the stress people are experiencing at a certain point in time. You can compare stress levels across departments, determine if there are any issues that need to be addressed, and then start working with the business on solutions. Obviously it’s also critical to have feet on the ground and observe what’s happening.
6. Clearly communicate your business’ story to employees.
To keep employees motivated, you need to be constantly telling your company’s story in an authentic way. Show people your business’ journey and talk about where you want to go. Make use of town halls and smaller sessions so you can communicate with employees directly and be willing to answer questions openly. By clearly communicating with your employees, they develop ownership over what you’re doing. That can do a lot to help them through the stressful patches that are inevitable at a high-growth startup.