Stress,management,Can,office,m health Stress management - Can office massage really help?
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The recent debate over sicknotes and well notes has highlighted the issue yet again. So why are employers not cracking the stress problem?Two camps:Employers who attempt to deal with stress fall into two camps: the box ticker and the enlightened.Stress is really no different from the diversity agenda: at one end of the spectrum it is about presenting statistics if the need arises at the other, it is about productivity and the retention of staff.The box ticker has the policy, and may have conducted an audit indicating the key causes of stress in the workplace (and pity the employer who conducts the stress audit, gathers the evidence and then does nothing about it). But a dusty policy without life breath in an organisation is not worth the paper it is written on.The enlightened, meanwhile, has adopted stress management initiatives such as corporate massage and office massage that are much more creative and go to the heart of performance management and the culture of an organisation.Some of the more interesting initiatives include: Office massage - having a masseuse visit the office will not only relieve employee stress, but is also a great morale boosterHoliday monitoring - ensuring that staff are taking at least the Working Time Regulations minimumA formal relationship with stress counsellors or occupational health for referral purposesOn-site gyms or gym sponsorship - often tied to monitored gym usageDuvet days - up to two days per year as personal time.Productivity benefitsHealth gurus are constantly telling us that better physical and mental performance increases productivity. But how does that work alongside a 24/7 service delivery culture?The answer must be that employees are encouraged to find some time during their day to take care of themselves with initiatives like office massage so the employer can take better care of the business.Of course, the best stress management initiatives are never going to get rid of the tactical stress card - the employee about to be disciplined or sacked who waves the sicknote citing stress. However, having a range of initiatives such as corporate massage or office massage in place does allow an employer to manage the tactical stressor more proactively.Too many employers regard the tactical stressor as untouchable - its tools down until the employee is fit to return.But it is often the case that the cause of the stress is the disciplinary or dismissal process itself - so pushing ahead with the process in a robust yet sensitive manner can alleviate the situation more effectively in the medium term.Management planHaving a systematic plan for dealing with the genuinely stressed employee such as corporate massage and office massage can force the tactical stressor down an established path that moves at a pace to suit the employer - and proactive stress management does not mean a process has to stand still.Stress management techniques such as office massage and corporate massage can work. But it takes significant management time: training the business to recognise situations likely to cause stress, identifying the symptoms and how to manage the consequences.So why bother implementing a stress management initiative such as corporate massage or office massage? Ultimately it is about the fight to be employer of choice and the bottom line.