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How to Tap Into the 5 Senses to Reduce Workplace Stress

stress free workplaceAssuming you work 40 hours a week, you may spend more than 90,000 hours in an office environment during your lifetime. Without making an effort to reduce employee stress, low productivity, burnout, and unnecessary turnover may ensue. These ultimately cost businesses thousands to millions of dollars — so if you want your company to succeed, employee satisfaction is a must. By tapping into our five senses, creating a relatively stress free workplace is simple. Consider the suggestions below.

SIGHT

Studies have proven that clutter can have negative effects on our mental clarity and anxiety levels. You need to make every effort to eliminate unnecessary clutter and create a fresh, clean environment in which to work.

You can’t afford to forget about the benefits of art in the workplace, either. Wholly 78% of survey respondents say that having art at work actually provides stress relief. Spaces adorned with carefully chosen art can allow your employees to feel more relaxed or more stimulated, depending on the circumstances. You may also want to decorate with live plants to create a sense of calm and add more oxygen into the atmosphere.

You’ll want to address light, as well. Fluorescent lighting can be extremely harsh, making employees feel more drained over the course of a day. Some employees may even experience eye strain and headaches from these lights. Aim to add more natural lighting (which can also reduce your energy costs and consumption!).

SMELL

Our sense of smell is extremely powerful. It’s important to keep sensitivities and allergies in mind here, as no employee will want to work in an environment that makes them sneeze. You may want to rethink your soap choices in bathrooms and be sure to change HVAC filters regularly. If any work is being done in the building (e.g., paint fumes or saw dust are present), you may want to allow employees to work from home. You should also take care to ensure garbage receptacles are emptied by custodial staff regularly and that common areas are always clean.

For some, the addition of essential oils may be a welcome one. Scents like lavender, lemon, rosemary, peppermint, and others are thought to reduce stress, promote alertness, or improve relaxation. As long as all employees are on board and have no known allergies, you might consider purchasing essential oil diffusers to use in certain areas throughout the office.

SOUND

Consider the addition (or the lack of) sound when creating a stress free workplace. Some employees require absolute quiet to be productive, while others work best with the addition of background noise or music. When revamping your office, create designated quiet spaces and allow music or socializing in others. You may also want to take care to eliminate sources of unnecessary noise that bother employees, such as buzzing appliances in need of repair. You could even win employees over by offering the use of high-quality noise cancelling headphones, too.

TOUCH

Employees who sit at desks all day can experience negative physical effects. By promoting the use of standing desks or ergonomic chairs, encouraging employee stretch breaks, hosting team-building activities involving physical fitness, and offering overworked employees massage promotions, you can express how much you care about their well-being. The restorative nature of regular exercise and massage can help your employees feel less stressed, sleep better, and feel more energized during the work day.

TASTE

Finally, don’t forget about taste — specifically, healthy and delicious options. If you have vending machines installed, consider stocking them with more healthy snacking options than junk food. You can even invest in an employee nutrition program to ensure workers prioritize their health. Providing a monthly breakfast or lunch can go a long way in increasing employee satisfaction and providing a much-needed break from monotony. Remember to emphasize whole grains (which can regulate serotonin) and partner with local food service businesses on catering opportunities.

By employing the use of our five senses, you’ll be astounded at the progress you can make towards developing a fairly stress free workplace. Although you may never be able to create a completely stress free workplace, you will be able to nurture a more relaxing atmosphere that’s conducive to both work and overall happiness.