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August 19, 2022 Amelia Wilcox

How to Create Stress Management Programs in the Workplace

When stressed, employees can be less focused, creative, productive, and collaborative. So how can management reduce workplace stress and support staff?

The key is to create a stress management program for employees that addresses their needs. We walk you through the steps here.

Why Stress Management Programs Are Important

A majority of your team is likely experiencing stress. The American Institute of Stress reports that 40 percent of employees find their job very or extremely stressful. Without help and management, stress can cause burnout, lead to unhealthy habits, and harm the mental and physical health of employees. 

Valuing your employees’ health and happiness benefits your team—and it’s good for the overall success of the company. According to HealthAdvocate, the cost of stressed employees to businesses is estimated between $200 and $300 billion a year. Stress management programs in the workplace can lower the financial impact on your business by increasing productivity, engagement, morale, culture, and much more.

Health Problems Related to Stress

Stress management programs in the workplace can greatly reduce health problems like:

  • Insomnia
  • Touchiness
  • Weight gain or loss
  • Headaches
  • High blood pressure
  • Chronic pain
  • Weakened immune system
  • Chest pain
  • Anxiety causing rapid heart rate
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Exhaustion
  • Nausea

How to Create a Team Stress Management Program

Get your stress management program in the workplace off the ground by following these seven steps:

  1. Collect data to inform your choices
  2. Educate your employees
  3. Encourage movement
  4. Get creative
  5. Offer meditation classes
  6. Address stress holistically
  7. Encourage engagement

Your corporate stress management program can be a part of your mental health program or be its own initiative.

1. Collect data to inform your choices

As you begin setting up your company’s stress management program for employees, it’s important to know what your staff needs. Gathering data on your team’s current state of wellbeing is a great way to learn more about where they need support. Open up an honest discussion with your employees with a survey that assesses staff wellness and stress levels. Here are some questions ideas:

  • How stressed have you felt in the past two weeks on a scale of 1 to 10?
  • How often does work stress carry over into your personal life?
  • Does stress make it harder for you to focus on your work?

2. Educate your employees

If you already have a mental health program, see if they will bring in a licensed counselor that can conduct a lunch-and-learn to help your staff gain knowledge about stress management. Set up support groups or facilitate discussions on specific stress-related topics and open up the conversation around stress in the workplace.

3. Encourage movement

Getting your body moving is an amazing way to relieve stress. Notably, research shows that taking exercise breaks at work, such as a group virtual yoga class or taking a walk during your lunch hour, increases employee productivity and stress relief. 

4. Get creative 

Reducing stress can be approached in many different ways. Think outside the box and devise creative ways to treat your staff, release tension, and finish their work day relieved and stress-free. Some innovative ways to address stress we’ve seen at the awesome companies we serve? Office art classes, workplace haircuts, grocery deliveries straight to the office, team cooking classes, or a stipend to allow employees to make their workspaces more calming. The opportunities are endless, and your staff will appreciate the effort.

5. Offer meditation classes

Workplace meditation classes are an awesome addition to any employee stress management program. Research shows that meditation is an effective way to reduce stress, anxiety, and depression. These sessions can relieve employee stress, shift negative thinking to positivity and teach them healthy coping techniques. Additionally, it can help promote productivity, office morale, and resiliency. 

6. Address stress holistically

Stress Management Program for Employees - two women sitting behind laptop at work

The best stress management programs in the workplace take on a holistic approach. One size doesn’t fit all, so providing many different ways for staff to deal with stress is helpful. Education, movement, and creativity might be the perfect solution for many. For others, they might need a life coach to talk to or want to bring a meditation practice into their life. Choosing a service provider that can offer a range of customized classes as part of your employee stress management program means you’ll address every employee’s needs.

7. Encourage engagement

Once your amazing program is in place, make sure your staff is actually using it. Wellness incentives are effective! Therefore, consider offering awards for employee participation. Encourage staff to get involved by offering a prize for those who take classes. Create a game to see who meditates the most minutes a month or walks the furthest.

Have a plan to communicate your program and its benefits to your employees. Using your intranet, newsletters, direct emails, and meeting announcements can help get the word out. As you roll out your employee stress management solution, continue to survey your staff and observe their stress levels dropping dramatically. 

For more tips on creating mental health initiatives at your company, check out this article.


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By participating in/reading the service/website/blog/email series on this website, you acknowledge that this is a personal website/blog and is for informational purposes and should not be seen as mental health care advice. You should consult with a licensed professional before you rely on this website/blog’s information. All things written on this website should not be seen as therapy treatment and should not take the place of therapy or any other health care or mental health advice. Always seek the advice of a mental health care professional or physician. The content on this blog is not meant to and does not substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

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Amelia Wilcox

Amelia Wilcox is the Founder and CEO of Nivati, a leader in corporate massage and employee mental health support since 2010. Her high-growth B2B company provides employee stress management tools that arm businesses with actionable data and positive employee experiences to improve wellbeing, boost morale, and increase engagement.

Amelia has exponentially grown her company from a solo living-room service business to an international technology brand.

Recently listed as a Forty Under 40, Fast 50, Inc 5000 Twice awarded National Woman-Owned Small Business of the Year

Licenses, Certifications & Memberships
Licensed Massage Therapist since 2002
Member of American Massage Therapy Association
Served on Utah Worksite Wellness Council from 2012-2015

Attended Utah College of Massage Therapy
Educated in Nutrition and Exercise Physiology at the University of Utah

Massage Magazine (AMTA's publication)