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How Leaders Can Reduce Stress and Boost Productivity Use these tactics to redefine workplace wellness.

By Angela Kambouris Edited by Bill Schulz

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Luis Alvarez | Getty Images

Companies need to continue developing a positive culture that embodies both individual and organizational wellbeing. HOW businesses do this will define their reputation for years to come.

The Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends 2021 report reinforced how brands need to re-imagine their strategies on employee wellness as the centerpiece of their decision-making. Offices need to reset strategies, modify policies and reinvigorate return-to-the workplace plans.

Here are several practical tips for organizations to maintain balance and boost productivity.

Related: These 5 Affirmations Are Proven to Change Your Life

An inclusive approach

Wellbeing embraces the social, financial, community and physical aspects of our lives.

Companies must amplify the message that they care and Microsoft Daily Pulse creates a space for HR to do just that. The program acts as a conduit in creating a continuous dialogue between leaders and the workforce to drive performance.

Cyber wellness

Over recent years, cyber wellness has become a pillar of total wellbeing. People are working from home and experience added pressure to manage technology. Cyber wellness can evaluate security awareness and mitigate risks. Companies have the responsibility to play an active role in creating adept digital citizens. Organizations must also consider security settings to protect their online meetings while being mindful about the importance of digital detox.

Workers want to be heard

Headspace 2020 Mental Health Trends Report recently highlighted the fact that 25% of all American employees are losing an hour of work a day due to stress. Indeed a poll of 2,000 Americans commissioned on behalf of the Danish cheese brand, Castello, found that 89% have been trying to bring themselves daily joy to combat stress with various degrees of success.

Worker concerns about finances, health and personal relationships have always existed and are rarely acknowledged in the office. Since COVID-19 reared its super ugly head, they have been struggling with the shift to homeschooling, anxiety about financial insecurity and personal health.

To that end, a national survey done by telehealth provider MDLIVE titled "Worried Sick: U.S. Workers and the Burden of Sick Day Stress," polled 2,000 employed Americans and found a full 42 percent reported they were more stressed about taking a sick day in 2020 than in previous years.

People cannot leave their emotions at home. Now, more than ever, employees need easy access to evidence-based mental health tools and resources to help them deal with the demands of today's fast-changing world.

COVID-19 created an urgency among employers to invest in diverse mental wellbeing offerings – from virtual meditation to online counseling – through wellness coaches.

Companies would do well to invest in preventative support with digital mental health platforms, mindfulness programs or onsite yoga.

Related: Achieve 'Superhuman' Success By Investing in Your Mental and Physical Health This Year

Work versus personal life

Stress in personal relationships can impact focus. Headspace research shows 51% of employees observe workplace stress hemorrhaging into their personal space. The same survey found 89% of employees wanted their organizations to offer mental health benefits to staff and their dependents while embedding resources into all aspects of their lives. Caregivers at home could benefit from receiving digital tools from organizations such as self-care videos or mindful exercise and games where their kids can assist in managing daily routines.

Related: Why wellness, not a 'dream job' is the key to happiness at work

Knowing vulnerability is not a weakness

The combination of in-person and digital tools provides people with a range of options to make sure they can access the right support at the right time. Companies like BP invest in actions (like free access to Headspace) to help deal with personal stress management. They implemented other support services including podcasts, written materials and "health moments" where co-workers can share their experiences. BP's EAP service offers 24/7 confidential counseling, a life management service and coaching for managers. During 2020 World Mental Health Day, BP colleagues shared their stories in a video entitled 'This is me' to shine a light on the struggles that individuals have experienced amid COVID-19 and the importance of asking for help.

Building new skills

The demand for social skills like communication, entrepreneurship or leadership will skyrocket in the coming years. Patty McCord, former Chief Talent Officer Netflix would ask managers to imagine a documentary about their employees that asked the following questions:

  • What would the team be accomplishing six months from now?
  • What specific results would you experience individually and as a team?
  • How would the work be different from what the team was doing today?
  • What skills would you need to make the images in the movie become a reality?

A recent survey conducted by The Vitamin Shoppe in partnership with WW (formerly Weight Watchers), on the country's 2021 goals found that 49% of those polled wanted to focus more on science-backed approaches to health and well-being, with 41% desiring more "me time" and 37% were actively trying to remember to be more in the moment (37%).

All food for thought as entrepreneurs continue figuring how to best engage (and better) their employees in a post-pandemic world.

Angela Kambouris

CEO of Evoluccion Consulting Agency

Angela Kambouris built a high-level career as an executive in the field of vulnerability and trauma. A global consultant and founder of Evoluccion Consulting Agency, she writes about how the leader’s mindset drives workplace culture, how to cultivate leaders and set the leadership team for success.

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