Photo Credit: kenexa.com

Can you gauge the overall wellness of your employees at a glance?  A recent study shows that despite all the effort business owners are putting into wellness programs, unproductivity costs U.S. businesses $550 billion each year…and work-related stress adds on an additional $300 billion.

Staggering to say the least.

So what can you do to motivate and get the most out of your employees while maintaining a healthy work environment?  Find ways for them to detach.

“If you goal is feeling better, you need to get your head out of work,” says Reb Rebele, a University of Pennsylvania researcher.  Here is a list of eight things you can encourage your staff to do:


  1. DO SOMEONE A FAVOR.  Volunteering helps people connect to others, which aids in recovering from stress.  You can do the same thing at work by something as simple as getting a cup of coffee for someone who’s had a bad day.  Spot a need…and for five minutes be the one to fill it.
  2. PLAY WITH A PUPPY.  One study showed that when employees brought their dogs to work, they felt less stressed and were just as productive as they were on pet-free days.
  3. HIDE YOUR PHONE.  Even if you’r not using it, simply being able to see a cell phone hinders your ability to focus on tough tasks, a pair of 2014 studies found.  The mere presence of a phone also made people trust and like each other less than if it weren’t present.
  4. TAKE A BREAK BEFORE LUNCH.  People who take breaks in the morning feel more restored and less emotionally-exhausted than people who take breaks in the afternoon, a recent study found.  Morning breakers were more likely to say they were satisfied with their jobs, too.
  5. LET YOURSELF PROCRASTINATE.  In one study, a researcher gave people a task and let some of them play five minutes of Minesweeper. Those who played generated ideas considerably more creative than those who got right to the task.  Their minds were likely chewing away at the problem in the background.
  6.  DISAPPEAR FOR A BIT.  Take a 10-minute walk daily – it helps to put it on your calendar – and don’t think about work while you’re walking.  Instead, listen to a podcast, make a phone call, do a walking meditation, or bring a friend to talk about something non-work-related.
  7. GOSSIP WITH YOUR CO-WORKERS.  “Social time is really valuable, even for introverts,” Rebele says.  But to truly detach – and reap the productivity and wellness benefits of a solid break – you have the keep the conversation office-free.
  8. END THE DAY LIKE YOU MEAN IT.  A 2016 study found that if people think they should be reachable after work, they feel less in control and have more of the stress hormone cortisol.  Meanwhile, another study shows that as long as your work gets done, putting in more hours doesn’t make you a better worker in your boss’s eyes.
*portions of this article used from a blog post by Mandy Oaklander.