Challenge: The 50-person sales force of a manufacturing company identified that productivity was beginning to suffer due to a loss of business volume associated with a down-turn in the economy.
The “pressure cooker” atmosphere created unhealthy levels of stress and perpetuated itself throughout the office. The employer felt that it was critical for the health and well-being of his staff that they were given some tools and methods to deal constructively with the stress in the office. We designed a two-day program around our “Work/Life Balancing Act” workshop incorporating proven methods for identifying and coping with unhealthy stress. It included explaining how it is possible to improve certain psychological and environmental factors for stress management, and a detailed exploration of the four stress zones.
On the first day we started by revisiting the true definition of stress, both good and bad. We looked at the different types of stress through a fun, interactive exploration of a day in the life of an employee. We identified that stress is not the same for everyone, and we determined that the things which stress one person may actually be energizing and engaging for another! We also visited the “360 degree Stress Meter Exercise” which brought to light the entire scope of the stressors and anti-stressors that each of us has in our current lives. We looked at our support system for managing stress – co-workers, family members and friends.
Because unhealthy stress was tied into each individual so uniquely, we had participants identify personal stressors in their lives and then began to establish a solution-focused approach to handling those situations. At the end of the first day, participants were instructed to observe the patterns of others that they encountered for the rest of the day, family included, and determine the level of fun or stress that each person was engaged in at the time. This process helped to make each participant more aware of the actions and interaction s of others, and how various levels of stress, both good and bad, permeate our lives at all times.
On the second day we had participants report out their observations and we then used this as a springboard to discuss stress reduction techniques in their personal and professional lives. We also engaged them to identify others in their workplace that had skill sets and management techniques that they could rely upon when unhealthy levels of stress begin to creep in. Since everyone in the department had engaged in the same workshop, they not only walked away with shared techniques for managing their own stress, but they had a new outlook on how to create less stress for others as well! At the end of the workshop, participants voiced their feelings - they would never look at “stress” the same way again.