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Weird ways to manage stress

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in Career Management,Workplace Communication

Think stress has a grip on your work­­place? It might. Fifty-three percent of employees say they are on the verge of burnout, according to the Staples Advantage Workplace Index. But how far should you go to battle employee stress? Con­­sider these outside-the-box—some totally bizarre—strategies from across the globe:

•  Take a coloring break. Adult coloring books are all the rage right now, and there are many studies out there that tout the mental benefits of coloring.

•  Sing me a song. Group sing-alongs aren’t new, but some companies take it too far, for example, Nev Wilshire, star of BBC’s The Call Centre, has admitted to firing people for not singing along.

•  Play dead. In South Korea, where the suicide rate is one of the highest in the world, employers ask employees to imagine their deaths. They write “last-words” letters to their loved ones and even lie in coffins. The goal: to encourage employees to rethink think their lives and assess what matters, which should reduce their stress.

•  Bring your pet to work day. Many companies welcome furry friends into the office on a regular basis. Some have gone as far as “employing” a dog as a Chief Hap­­pi­­ness Officer (CHO) to lift morale.

So do these crazy ideas work? Cer­­tainly not for everyone. Some people have allergies and would loathe pets at work. Others would be humiliated by singing. Some think coloring is a waste of time, and well, the coffin experiment could land you in court.

Your best bet for managing stress is to ensure that employees’ workloads are fair, that they have the information they need to do their jobs effectively, and that they are given a chance to fully disconnect from work.

— Adapted from “Fake Funerals and Sing-Alongs: The Most Bizarre Workplace Stress-Busting Ideas,” Charlotte Seager, The Guardian, www.theguardian.com.

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