On Workplace Stress: 5 Culture Shifts Employers Can Make to Help Employees Manage Overwork and Overwhelm

Stress is a common experience in today’s fast-paced work environment, and it’s no secret that it can take a toll on both employees and employers. As the workplace has gone “back to normal” in many ways here in 2023, a new study from The Hartford found that a majority of workers (84%) indicate they are at least somewhat happy at work, despite the continued overall presence of burnout across the workforce.

It is essential for leadership teams, including CEOs, human resources managers, and chief people officers to implement practices that help manage overwork and overwhelm within their organization. This includes employee benefits programs that truly cater to the needs of today’s workforce.


Here are some ideas that can shape a healthier workplace environment where employees’ needs are met and where they are encouraged to thrive.


Foster a Positive Work Environment, Starting with the Basics

A positive work environment can go a long way in reducing stress and promoting wellbeing. This can include creating a culture of open communication, recognizing employee achievements, and providing opportunities for professional growth and development. When employees feel valued and supported, they’re more likely to be engaged and productive at work.

Promote Healthy Habits

Healthy habits such as regular movement, eating a balanced diet, and engaging in personal growth and development can help employees manage stress and improve their overall wellbeing. Attention to the many dimensions of wellbeing can also help boost relationships with co-workers, creating a more connected work environment.

As a human resources manager or employee benefits manager, you can promote healthy habits by offering holistic wellness programming as well as incentives for employees who participate in wellness-promoting activities.

Provide Resources for Mental Health Support

Mental health is a crucial component of overall well-being, and it’s essential to provide resources for employees who need support. This can include access to an employee assistance program (EAP), mental health counseling, or mindfulness-based stress reduction programs. Within the realm of holistic wellness programming, consider meditation and breathwork offerings that allow employees to rest their minds, and wellness webinar topics that validate issues employees are experiencing. By providing resources for mental health support, you’re showing employees that you care about their wellbeing and that it’s okay to ask for help when they need it.

Encourage Time Off

One of the best ways to manage overwork and overwhelm is to encourage employees to take time off. This can include vacation time, personal days, or mental health days. Many employees feel guilty about taking time off, even when they need it. Encouraging time off not only helps employees recharge but also shows that your organization values work-life balance. When it comes to holistic wellness programming, offering on-demand content that employees can choose to engage with during their time off is one way to maximize benefits for both employers and employees.

Implement Flexible Schedules

Flexible schedules can help employees manage their workload and balance their personal and professional responsibilities. This can include options such as working from home, flexible hours, or compressed workweeks. The Hartford’s study found that although many employees believe their employees would want to work remotely full-time if allowed, only 21% of U.S. workers say they prefer this. When employees have more control over their schedules, they’re less likely to feel overwhelmed and more likely to be productive.


In Conclusion

Managing the effects of overwork and overwhelm is essential for maintaining a healthy and productive workplace and avoiding burnout. As corporate leadership, it’s essential to implement practices that promote work-life balance, support mental health, and foster a positive work environment. By doing so, you’ll not only help your employees manage stress, but you’ll also create a culture that values wellbeing and productivity, which is rapidly becoming the “new normal”.



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