25 Employee Stress Management Ideas for Work

Home » Resources » Employee Stress ManagementUpdated: September 23, 2022

You found our list of the best employee stress management ideas for the workplace.

Employee stress management ideas are techniques you can use to minimize strain caused by the work atmosphere. Examples include dance parties, employee recognition, and work rotations. The purpose of these activities is to boost employee productivity and improve mental health. The right employee stress management strategy choice will also help workers avoid distractions and focus on work.

These activities are examples of employee engagement activities and company culture-building activities. These ideas are similar to virtual wellness activities and virtual stress relief activities.

This list includes:

  • workplace activities to reduce stress
  • stress management team building activities
  • virtual team stress relief activities
  • stress management ideas for managers
  • fun stress-relieving activities for groups

Let’s get started!

List of employee stress management ideas

As one of the most common obstacles to worker productivity in the modern workplace, companies need to invest in employees’ stress management. Keeping workers’ stress levels to the minimum is beneficial to employees’ mental health and work productivity. From remote working to team sports and setting realistic expectations, here is a list of the best ideas you can use to manage employee stress in the workplace.

1. Worker’s Wellness

Promoting wellness is one of the best workplace activities to reduce stress for employees. The lack of inactivity for team players can contribute to unproductivity and physical health issues such as back pain, leg pain, and headaches.

Examples of ways to encourage worker’s wellness:

  • If you have workers who sit for extended amounts of time, schedule 15-minute walks around the workspace every four to five seating hours.
  • Hold walking meetings for small groups who sit for extended periods
  • Let participants use fitness trackers to record steps or running distance. You could encourage workers to participate by offering incentives.
  • Invite professional yoga instructors to lead willing participants through free sessions every week
  • Offer workers gym memberships
  • Provide healthy snacks in the workspace, such as fruits

Encouraging worker wellness is a cost-effective strategy to boost team members’ productivity and reduce stress levels.

Check out this list of employee wellness program activities.

2. Office Plants

An outdoor office vibe may be the game changer that your company needs. You could have an overall green theme with different plants in the office space. Office plants will give the feel of nature and have a soothing effect on team members. You could either purchase or encourage workers to bring plants. Office plants will also purify the air and create a more natural office atmosphere. While fake plants may be more affordable and easier to manage, it is typically better to pick real plants.

3. Dance Parties

Hosting dance parties tops the list of stress management team building activities, especially after a long day or a difficult project. You could organize a dance party where your team can dance the night away amid drinks and laughter with the entire workforce. You can also include fun activities such as choreographed dances by the senior management. Company-wide dance parties are a stress reliever since all workers can interact in a fun way and reduce tension. Be sure to set some guidelines so workers can have a party mood without going overboard. Also, remind all employees to be respectful of other workers who do not want to partake in active dancing.

4. Work-Life Balance

If you want a more productive, healthier, and happier workforce, then you can start with a work-life balance company policy. Regardless of the compensation, the lack of a life-work balance will create an unhealthy relationship with work and contribute directly to your employees’ unproductivity. You could cut out the weekend work, long working hours, and late nights. A work-life balance may be one of the most difficult employee stress management ideas. However, practicing this concept will likely result in an increase in productivity and a cheerful workforce.

Check out this list of work-life balance ideas.

5. Remote Working

If you have a work-from-office company policy, then you could surprise your team with remote working days every so often. The remote working stress management idea is especially vital for team members with a long daily commute to work. You could also provide each employee with work-from-home essentials such as desk organizers, headphones, and stationery boxes. You can also offer your team free lunch coupons to redeem when employees are working remotely.

Check out this guide to work from home policy best practices.

6. Work Breaks

Work breaks are some of the most effective workplace activities to reduce stress. For example, you could let workers take a whole afternoon break or even an entire day off after completing a complex project. You can also encourage each team player to take a tea or lunch break and log off from work. However, you may find that your workers are dealing with an excessive workload or are feeling guilty about taking a break. If you want work breaks to effectively reduce stress, ensure that no worker is dealing with an unreasonable workload. Regular breaks are also vital in maintaining a healthy work-life balance and reducing stress, fatigue, and anxiety.

7. Counseling

Counseling is one of the most underestimated work stress management strategies. You could opt for distance or on-site counseling sessions for workers where team players will get professional advice or help. Participants can get guidance on both work and non-work-related stressors. One of the best ways to go about team counseling sessions is by offering your workforce access to a vast pool of providers. You will empower your employees with strategies to handle and avert common work and life stressors. If one department often has conflicts, then you can opt for group counseling sessions.

8. Employee Recognition

If your company does not recognize employees’ efforts, then thoughts of unworthiness and being inadequate may creep into your team’s minds. Employee recognition activities will go a long way in boosting participants’ self-worth and motivating productivity.

Examples of employee recognition ideas:

  • Gifts
  • Social media recognition
  • Professional development opportunities
  • Wall of fame
  • Team outings

While some workers may appreciate praise in a social media post, others might prefer a thank you in person or a gift. Be sure to personalize your company’s employee recognition activities.

Here is a list of employee recognition ideas you can use to appreciate your team.

9. Karaoke

If you have a musically-inclined team, then a karaoke session is one of the best virtual team stress relief activities. Preparing songs and the performance will take your group off work stress. You could let workers choose songs to present to the entire team. Then, let each worker log into a conferencing platform like Zoom and find songs on a karaoke app or YouTube. Participants can search for a video with lyrics and instrumental audio and share their screen. The singer can then add participants to the Zoom meeting. Let workers who finish presenting a song stop sharing the screen so that other employees can perform to the audience. If holding an in-house karaoke session, then you could set up a simple stage with a stage and microphone and let participants sing their hearts out. Recognizing workers’ talents through a karaoke session will also boost confidence towards work and other life aspects.

10. Flexible Working Hours

Office spaces can sometimes feel like a cell, especially due to constant micromanagement. Offering your team flexible working hours is a sure way for employees to prove their ability to work without supervision. You could let your team choose the ideal hours to clock in at work. For instance, if you have an eight-hour work policy, you can let workers choose their working timelines as long as they clock in the set working hours. You could also let employees work for flexible hours, provided team players complete tasks on time. Giving team players flexible working timelines ensures that workers clock in when they are most productive.

11. Foosball

As one of the most common office games, companies searching for in-office fun stress-relieving activities for groups cannot go wrong with foosball. The game, which resembles soccer, involves participants rotating rods to control rows of players. Team members then shoot the ball towards the opponent’s goal to score. You could have a foosball setup in your office where your team can play during breaks. You can also engage your workers in a foosball competition during high-stress times. Foosball is a great office game many workers can enjoy playing for extended hours.

For similar activities, check out this list of office game room ideas.

12. Departmental Work Rotations

With repetitive work significantly contributing to employees’ boredom, departmental work rotations may combat occupational stress. You could consider departmental employee rotations where team players get a chance to work in a different department every so often. For instance, if you have a team of in-office online marketers, you can let the group join the sales team for outside-office assignments. The team will get a new experience and possibly face new challenges that will change your worker’s perceptions of their work.

13. Quiet Time Areas

With the constant work pressure, employees may need a space to take a quiet break and bar off outside noise. Depending on the availability of office space and funds, you could designate a small room where workers can escape to when the pressure gets unbearable. Employees are free to take necessary breaks in the room without outside interference. If you have an outdoor space, then consider setting up a bench where workers can have quiet time. However, be sure to set up guidelines regarding the use of the quiet time areas. For instance, you can alert workers not to misuse the quiet time areas by avoiding their duties or spending too much time in the spaces.

14. Stress Management Workshops

While work stress may be manageable, occupational strife may be unavoidable. Companies looking for long-term employee stress management ideas could consider regular workshops and trainings. In these sessions, workers will learn vital strategies to avoid and handle stress. Regular stress management workshops will help employees to become better at managing work and life pressure without the need to involve third parties.

Here is a list of corporate workshop ideas.

15. Team Sports

As one of the best choices for stress management team building activities, team sports are physical activities that will give participants stronger bodies and minds. One of the best sporting activities that will relieve workers of stress is company-wide runs. For small groups, you can join other runs by non-profit organizations within your area or invite the community to participate in your company’s charity run. Other fun and stress-relieving sporting activities you can engage your team in include relay races, sack races, rope climbing, and tug of war. Be sure to let workers run at their pace and offer incentives for the winners.

For more inspiration, check out work field day ideas.

16. Regular Surveys

Understanding the needs of your workforce is a key step in managing work stress. Without regular surveys, you could be trying to improve or change one aspect of the workspace that does not affect your team’s work stress.

Here are aspects that you should be on the lookout for in your survey

  • Workers’ professional and personal goals
  • Aspects that will improve teams’ work efficiency
  • Organizational structure factors that cause employee stress

Conducting regular and timely surveys will give you a clear insight on work stressors in your company. Once you get feedback from your team, work on the concerns and implement the possible areas.

Here is a list of employee engagement survey questions.

17. Upskilling

With the constant headache that senior workers face when working with junior employees, upskilling is one of the best stress management ideas for managers. Learning and practicing new employee management skills will help in the productivity of junior and senior workers. Through the effective management of junior staff, you will increase your team’s productivity and reduce the pressure that results from poor results. Companies can support upskilling efforts for the management team by paying for the education or offering paid study time. Managers can also use books or online courses to garner specific managerial skills.

Here is a list of professional development ideas.

18. Realistic Expectations

Workplace stress is more common when employees have targets surpassing their abilities, knowledge, and coping skills. Other than offering employees unrealistic expectations, companies can reduce workers’ stress by setting up manageable targets. Unrealistic expectations can cause a rise in work stress by increasing work anxiety, job insecurity, and longer working times. In return, workers will feel incapable or insufficient in completing tasks that they would perform under favorable work conditions. In addition, unrealistic expectations often come with low wages and salaries, another common cause of work stress.

19. Playtime with Pets

Playing with pets is one of the easiest virtual team stress relief activities that require zero prior planning. You could request team players who have pets to introduce, play, and give a brief history of their furry friends. To prevent disruption, you can schedule the pet play at the beginning or end of a work meeting or day. Watching interactions between pets and their owners is a fantastic stress reliever that may also encourage other workers to get a pet. Other workers may even get the motivation to get a pet.

Check out this guide to virtual take your dog to work day.

20. Decluttering

A cluttered space is a major contributor to stress and anxiety. You could help your team stay focused and loosen up by giving participants five to ten minutes to clear their desks before a work day. You can also have a regular decluttering routine where employees remove distractions from their office desks. For a company-wide decluttering session, you could start by setting a time when all workers are available. Then, give workers about 30 minutes to clear their offices of items no longer in use. Rather than decluttering once yearly, be sure to have monthly company-wide decluttering sessions.

21. Movie Night

A simple activity like a team movie night could be the secret to keeping your workers’ stress at bay. You could also let workers take an afternoon off and watch the latest blockbuster in a movie theatre. If you have trouble picking a film, then you can choose several latest film releases and let employees vote. Weather permitting, you can opt for an outdoor film screening that will offer attendees a unique experience. If you do not have the budget or the logistic capabilities for a theatre movie screening, then you can have a film screening in the office grounds. You can make the movie night more fun by letting workers come dressed as their favorite movie characters. Be sure to maximize the fun by having some popcorn and drinks.

Check out this list of team building movies.

22. Talent Show

If you are looking for fun stress-relieving activities for groups, then you must try a company-wide talent show. You could let willing participants list special capabilities they will perform to team members. Regarding the choice of talent show activities, you can factor in related costs and your company policy.

Ideas:

  • Painting
  • Playing music instruments
  • Singing
  • Stand-up comedy
  • Storytelling
  • Gymnastics
  • Juggling acts
  • Karate
  • Hula-hooping
  • Beatboxing

Talent shows will ease up work pressure and also create a spirit of camaraderie among workers. Be sure to encourage senior management staff to partake in the company-wide talent show.

Check out this list of fun talent show ideas for work.

23. Manager to Employee Communication Channels

One of the major work stressors is the lack of or unreliable communication channels between managers and employees. The ease of communication between employees and their bosses alleviates a great percentage of work-related stress. You could have a work structure where employees can hold regular meetings with their managers. Workers can express their concerns, workloads, and problems interfering with productivity. Rather than large group meetings, opt for smaller gatherings where each employee can express themselves. Fast resolution of your team’s issues will prevent work strife and create a conducive work environment.

Here is a guide to virtual one to one meetings.

24. Yoga

Yoga is a rich tradition with immense benefits to the body and mind that your employees will enjoy. You could offer teams free access to yoga studios within your area and let workers have different yoga classes. For instance, some participants may love hatha yoga, a style that combines breathing exercises and physical postures. You can also check out other types of yoga, such as hot yoga, ashtanga, or Vinyasa. For a team yoga experience, you can search for pre-recorded yoga classes from online platforms and have a team session. Yoga is an incredible tool that is effective for work stress management.

Here is a guide on how to do yoga with your team.

25. Meditation

Meditation is a fantastic idea if you are looking for relaxation methods for your team. The mindfulness practice offers significant physiological benefits that will be significant to the entire workforce. You could introduce mediation sessions with the help of a guide for willing participants. Another great idea to encourage individual meditation sessions is offering your team free access to meditation apps like Headspace, Calm, or Shine.

Conclusion

Stress management is one of the most vital yet underrated measures to make or break an organization. From conflicts with co-workers and bosses to heavy workloads and personal problems, unmanaged stress can result in mental and physical issues. Besides providing a habitable working environment, companies can also introduce stress buster activities. A non-stressful work environment also helps companies attract and retain top talent. You can browse our list of employee stress management ideas and choose engaging and fun activities to counter stress in your workspace.

Next, check out Mental Health Awareness month ideas and quotes about mental health.

FAQ: Employee stress management

Here are answers to common questions about employee stress management ideas

What is employee stress management?

Employee stress management uses well-thought-out approaches to help workers manage their stress levels. Employee stress management is vital in job satisfaction and assisting workers to lead healthier and more balanced lives.

What are some good employee stress management ideas?

As one of the major causes of high turnover in companies, work stress can be costly to businesses. However, there are various activities that companies can use to help their workers to deal with work-related and other forms of stress. Some good employee stress management ideas include talent shows, quiet time areas, and flexible working hours.

How do you help employees deal with stress?

Employee stress is a major hindrance to the success of many businesses. However, companies can set up measures and strategies to counter work stress. For example, organizations could also focus on avoiding major stressors such as unclear work boundaries, job insecurity, heavy workload, and poor remuneration. Some of the ways that companies can help workers to deal with stress include upskilling, decluttering, and movie nights.

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Author: Grace He

Grace is the Director of People & Culture at TeamBuilding. She studied Industrial and Labor Relations at Cornell University, Information Science at East China Normal University and earned an MBA at Washington State University.

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