It’s official, work is stressful. Employees are working longer hours, more over-time and taking fewer holidays than ever before. All the extra hours and days at the office are apparently taking their toll and companies are seeing a dramatic rise in stress-related sick leave.
Now many businesses are looking at alternative ways to promote a Zen-like work environment. Here are some of the best (and craziest) ideas to help restore calm to the office. Have you experienced any of these stress-busting initiatives? Or seen anything even more bonkers?
1. Siesta before the sales pitch
It is probably true most people have (day)dreamed about catching 40 winks at the office, but employers in Japan have been encouraging workers to take afternoon naps to boost their creativity towards the end of the day, with ‘nap salons’ popping up in downtown Tokyo. Research from the University of California showed people who took an afternoon nap fared better in tests than those who stayed awake. So get a glass of warm milk and your teddy ready before your next big meeting.
2. A classical idea
Most people enjoy a bit of music when at work, but when your boss asks you to ‘Turn down that racket’ you can tell them it’s scientifically good for productivity. Before you start thinking you can be rocking out to Metalica while sending e-mails, it’s classical music that has been proved to relax and chill out the stressed worker. Students who listened to Beethoven while studying scored higher in exams than those who listened to other music while revising.
3. Finding inner peace in the office
Plenty of people use yoga to relax after a tough days work, but now companies are bringing yoga to the office, with classes being offered at lunch times to help ease away the trials and tribulations of the working day. Businesses where employees take a yoga class once a week saw an increase in office harmony and productivity. Look out for a guru near you soon!
4. Does Robin Hood take sugar?
Normally the only time you would see fancy dress around the office would be if your colleagues were fund-raising for charity, but now companies have started fancy dress work days to help break the ice in the office and promote a positive work environment. One piece of advice; if you’re stuck behind the Incredible Hulk at the photocopier, don’t ask him to hurry up!
5. It’s good to gossip
Discussing the latest episode of Eastenders or the work night out can actually help productivity. A University of Amsterdam study found out that companies where workers gossiped more freely also saw better communication of important work information. However, the water cooler was found to be the least popular gossip sites, with 33% of people spreading news at their desks. Apparently gossip is traced back to our ancestors to help identify work-shy hunter gatherers who weren’t doing their fair share. Nice to know not much has changed today!
By Dominic Jones