Everything we love about spring – warm weather, sunshine, green grass, blooming plants, even the smell of rain – can reduce stress. If only we could all work outside. Unfortunately, most of us can’t, but it seems like a waste to let all that stress-relieving potential go unused. So we’re going to look at some ways that you can bring what’s happening outside into the office to help you have a less stressful day at work. We’ll also be sharing ideas for making small changes in your facilities that can help spread that stress-busting power to everyone you work with.
Is an out of control to do list making you tense? Spring sun could provide the cure. Sunshine prompts your brain to release more serotonin, the mood-boosting hormone. More serotonin means a happier, calmer, and more alert you. So, if you’re having stressful day, grab your work and find a sunny spot. Can’t find a window? Head outside and soak up some rays while you get things done. Need more of a reason to search out some natural light? It can help you be up to 25% more productive, too. Knowing you got more done at the end of the day will definitely reduce your stress.
Facilities tip: Want to crush stress and boost morale? Look into creating some sunny dropdown workstations in your office. You can add one anywhere you get natural light. Add a chair with a tablet arm to a quiet corner of your lobby. Put a chair and side table in an unused piece of hallway with a window. Set some tables and chairs outside. It’s a small change that can make a big difference.
People are always saying that you would be less stressed if you could just get out of your head, but that can be difficult when you’re surrounded by the projects, emails, and tasks that are causing your stress. Warmer weather gives you the perfect opportunity to leave your stressors behind. Research shows that talking a walk – even one as short as 10 minutes – reduces the amount of cortisol, the stress hormone, in your body. It can also help squash negative thoughts and fight feelings of fatigue. If you want to maximize your chances of a stress-free afternoon, try counting your steps (one, two, one two) or deep breathing (in for four, out for four). Focusing on the counts will keep you from returning to stressful thoughts.
Facilities tip: Want to improve moods and wake up your workforce? Encourage walk breaks by making your outdoor spaces more appealing. Keep the parking lot and walkways clean and clear of debris. Draw people outside by adding some benches if you have space for them. Freshen up your landscaping or invest in some outdoor planters. It will help draw people outside and get them moving.
It’s happened to all of us. You start off the week in good spirits. You have a plan. You’re going to get things done. But by mid-week, emergencies or unplanned tasks have popped up. Your plan is off the rails and your blood pressure is skyrocketing. It may not help get your plan back in order but bringing some spring green into the office will help your stress levels. Spending just 3 short minutes tending to or looking at a plant can lower your blood pressure and reduce anxiety, leaving you feeling calmer and ready to take a fresh look at your task list. Plants have also been shown to improve your memory and cognitive function so bringing a leafy new friend into the office will help you work better even on days when you aren’t stressed.
Facilities tip: Want a calmer, more productive workplace? Add some planters throughout your office. A splash of green in hallways or common areas, like the lobby or breakroom, will reduce staff stress and can boost productivity by as much as 15%. Plus, it looks nice and makes your space more inviting for guests.
If a stressful day has left you with tense muscles and clenched teeth, a quick walk to the breakroom can help you shake it off but don’t let what you put in your cup derail your attempt to relax. Coffee is most people’s office drink of choice, but its high caffeine content can leave you more on edge than ever. Why not let the warmer weather inspire you to choose a lighter drink option? Green tea is a great choice on a stressful day. It has enough caffeine to give you a bit of an energy boost, but not enough to make you jittery. It also contains L-theanine, which is known to reduce stress. The combination of the two will help calm you down while increasing focus, which makes mental tasks easier.
Facilities tip: Want to bust stress and make someone’s day? Offer a variety of drink options in your breakroom. Green tea isn’t the only stress-reliever you can find in the breakroom cabinet. Chamomile and mint teas work too. Orange juice has been shown to reduce cortisol levels, making it another great choice. A few extra breakroom perks can also help with office morale. In a recent poll, 70% of workers said that having a well-stocked breakroom would make them happier at work.