Headaches, high blood pressure and hair loss – each are common symptoms often attributed to stress. According to the American Psychological Associates, last year 61% of participants ranked “Work” as the third common source of stress. “The Future of America” and “Money” claimed the first two slots. Companies can implement various initiatives in the workplace aimed at helping to reduce stress levels for its employees. Be flexible. Enforce an open door policy. A clear flow of effective communication can quickly resolve unanswered questions about a project or address concerns regarding other work related issues. When supervisors and leaders make themselves accessible, employees are less likely to build up frustration due to an established method of problem resolution. Promote teamwork. Certain assignments may become extremely stressful due to a lack of resources or access to viable information. Managers should offer insightful information or pass along reference materials to employees who are tasked with complicated, cumbersome projects. This will help cut down on unnecessary stress. It could also possibly even reduce the time required to execute and deliver a final project. Promote healthy lifestyle choices. It is a well-known fact that exercise releases “happy” hormones or endorphins. Encouraging employees to be more active during their breaks is a great way to introduce exercise as a regular daily habit. A quick stroll during the day provides a much anticipated break from the desk. Improved circulation, potential weight loss and boosted energy are a few of the great health benefits associated with walking. What we eat also affects how much energy we sustain during the day. Individuals who work in a sedentary profession often develop unhealthy eating habits. Typically the crowd favorites are greasy junk foods like potato chips and sugary snacks including cookies, candy, cupcakes, etc. Consider providing healthy snacks for the office on occasion. For example, a fresh fruit basket may disappear just as quickly as the box of doughnuts. Encourage Good Productive Habits. Keep it simple. If a topic can be addressed in an email, then do so. This reiterates concise communication regarding policy and procedure changes or modifications. Emailing such updates also creates a searchable record that employees can consult at any time. Your company hires employees to be productive. If a meeting is not necessary, do not waste anyone’s time. The constant pinging of messaging alerts, sporadic pop ups for incoming emails and insistent ringing of phones contribute largely to serious sensory overload. Employees would likely attest to obtaining higher productivity levels when those interruptions are silenced. Why not eliminate them? Once a week for a few hours, let employees “unplug”. Give them an opportunity to sign out of email, silence their phones and tackle work without any distractions. Conclusion. Flexibility allows employees to properly address any unresolved issues or concerns in an attempt to establish clear communication. Influencing better lifestyle choices regarding exercise and diet can contribute to happier employees. Also eliminating frequent interruptions gives employees a chance to focus solely on a specific task or project. Ideally, reducing stress levels in the workplace will also positively impact employee productivity levels.