You want to create a calm and stress-free work environment, but you don’t know where to start. You’re not alone—many small businesses struggle to create a peaceful workplace. Fortunately, there are some simple steps you can take to bring a sense of tranquility to your office space.
And it’s very important that you pay attention to your employee’s stress levels, as employee engagement and satisfaction rates are at all-time lows. When your employee’s mental health suffers, so does their creativity and productivity, and so does your organization’s turnover rate.
Organizations don’t have to spend an arm and a leg to reduce ongoing work stress, either. You can improve the mental health of your employees by using many inexpensive methods.
How to Create a Stress-Free Work Environment Right Now
While it isn’t possible to have a completely happy workforce, you can get close by creating a calm, stress-free work environment.
Here’s some tips on how to make one as soon as possible.
1. Establish a Quiet Zone
While encroaching deadlines and quotas will encourage employees to keep working, a constant barrage of deliverables will tire them out. In really chaotic environments, a quiet zone can be a refuge for even the most resilient employee. Even they need some peace and quiet sometimes.
While a quiet zone can be a break room, it’s better if the room is separate from a high-traffic area. You’ll want your quiet zone to be just that; a place where no one talks or bothers you.
Here’s some tips on how to create the perfect quiet zone:
- Designate a specific area and set guidelines for how to behave in the quiet zone.
- Consider not allowing any outside media or devices (or they must be turned off).
- If workers want to use outside media, they have to use headphones at all times.
- Use calm and soothing videos, like a soothing ocean backdrop, to help clear the mind.
- Encourage employees to respect the quiet zone and the needs of colleges using it.
To make the space more inviting, provide amenities, such as comfortable seating, reading materials, or noise-canceling headphones. Allow employees to sit in the dark if needed.
2. Use Natural Light
Natural light can help improve mood, reduce stress, and increase productivity. If your workplace is fortunate enough to have plenty of natural light, try to position your worker’s desks to face windows. If not, consider investing in full spectrum lighting (UV lighting) to mimic natural light.
With that said, natural light does more for the body than reduce stress; it can increase vitamin D levels, reduce eye strain, and promote creativity and collaboration. Natural light is great for your wallet, too, as opening up the curtains reduces your electricity bill and helps the environment.
3. Encourage Breaks
Although breaks are required by law, they aren’t being utilized by employees. Employees may refuse to take breaks or eat lunch because they feel guilty or pressured to do so by their managers. This problem is worse for remote workers, where 43% of workers often skip meals.
However, taking frequent breaks actually makes you more productive, especially if employees can take them away from their office. A short walk outside can quickly relieve stress.
If you want to encourage more breaks, here’s how you do it:
- Lead by example by taking regular breaks and encouraging teams to do the same.
- Create a schedule that includes regular breaks throughout the day and stick to it.
- Encourage physical and mental activities, like yoga, during breaks.
- Communicate the benefits of taking breaks, such as increased productivity.
- Allow employees to take breaks when they need them, not just at scheduled times.
If the weather prevents your workers from walking outside, suggest that they take part in a mindfulness exercise. They can meditate or take a few deep breaths while closing their eyes.
4. Encourage Collaboration
Humans are social creatures and prefer to hang around other humans, so much so that an active social life can increase our overall health and happiness. Encouraging collaboration, sharing ideas, and a team-based work culture can make your workplace more enjoyable.
If you want to encourage collaboration, you have to create an open and inclusive culture where employees feel comfortable speaking their truth. With that system in place, you can start adopting tools, like project management software, that promote organizational teamwork.
But don’t stop there: be sure to promote flexibility and a reward-based culture, too. Both initiatives will help teams work together more effectively and inspire friendly competition.
Creating a calm and stress-free work environment is crucial for the productivity and well-being of your employees. By implementing a few simple changes, you can create a space that promotes focus, creativity, and overall well-being. In the end, these tips will help your employees thrive, even if they’re fully remote. Although, they will need to create their own quiet zone!