Did you know that $200 billion per year is lost due to stress on the job? According to corporate consultant Brad Larsen, stress has “resulted in reduced productivity, absenteeism, burnout, turnover and increased medical and health insurance costs.”
I know what you’re saying. “Duh. We know that. We’re all stressed out at work.”
True. So what are you doing about it? Larsen lists a number of things that companies can do to alleviate stress – from teaching time management to providing a relaxation space in the workplace with healthy treats.
While Larsen’s list is good, it’s missing something important that improves morale, alleviates stress and, in general, makes employees happier – comedy! Everyone loves to laugh, and comedy is a great stress reliever.
When you laugh, your brain releases those feel-good chemicals called endorphins that make you happy. As a result, you become less stressed. We’ve seen this first-hand. We’ll bring our Comedy Experience into an organization and, trust me, everyone in the room is stressed out about the fact that they’re going to perform stand-up comedy. The nonverbals are “loud. “ Collectively, the audience glares at us while their arms are crossed, either showing that they’re skeptical or trying to be genies wishing we’d disappear.
But, after the first person gets up on stage, something miraculous happens. She’s funny and the audience is laughing and having fun. Morale improves, people start to bond, and stress disappears.
Stress will never disappear forever, even in the best workplaces. But, to help alleviate stress on an ongoing basis, organizations need to change their workplace culture. When a company mergers with or acquires another company, stress levels usually increase because the two cultures often have trouble merging successfully.
When comedy techniques are infused into an internal communications program, they help to change the culture, break down barriers, shift the dynamic of the organization and definitely help to eliminate some of that stress.
So, when it comes to managing stress, think comedy. Relaxation techniques and healthy snacks are fine, but laughter truly reduces stress. And, we all know we’d love less stress at work!
How do you manage stress at work? What works best? What has failed?