Health and Fitness
December 2, 2011
Contact: Diana Yee, 510-271-6671
Start the New Year with Less Stress at Work
Kaiser Permanente physician offers easy tips to help employers extinguish stress before it flares up
Looming deadlines, a troubled economy and layoffs are all reasons why employees may be feeling more anxious and stressed than ever before in the workplace.
Employers can have a major impact on workplace health by making stress reduction a priority in 2012. Helping employees manage stress is critical because stress can cause a variety of emotional and physical health problems for an individual, not to mention lost productivity. In fact, a recent study published in the journal BMC Public Health found that employees with high-stress jobs visited their general practitioners 26 percent more often compared to those with low-stress jobs.
In a two-part Kaiser Permanente podcast, Albert Ray, MD, physician director for Patient Education and Health Promotion for Kaiser Permanente in Southern California, offers specific steps employers can take to cut stress on the job. Dr. Ray is featured in the book, Healthy Employees, Healthy Business — Easy, Affordable Ways to Promote Workplace Wellness.
Dr. Ray offers advice that he follows and has found to be successful with his staff.
- Have managers lead by example — hold walking/exercise breaks
- Add walking/exercise breaks to meeting agendas
- Get to the office a little earlier vs. later
- Create a space for quiet time or meditation
- Encourage or create social activity/team building/laughter
- Allow pets at the office
- What causes stress
- How stress affects an employee’s health
- Helping employees manage stress
- How to recognize when an employee is stressed
- How to talk about stress with your employees
- How empathizing with employees gains their respect
At Kaiser Permanente, employees have the option to download stretch-break reminders on their computer. These reminders appear throughout the day and provide employees with a different stretch each time, reminding them of the importance to step away from their desks throughout the day.
Kaiser Permanente offers a lot of information about ways to reduce stress — employers can obtain the book Healthy Employees, Healthy Business or download a free workbook from HealthWorks by Kaiser Permanente. Find the workbook for each region on businessnet.kp.org:
You can also access relaxation tools on kp.org under Health and Wellness.
Did you know?
- One million workers call in sick every day because of stress. 1
- Calling in sick can cost employers $602 a year per employee in direct costs. 2
- Calling in sick on the same day of the week, week after week, could be a sign of stress. 3