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4 Tips on Stress Reduction and Workplace Violence Prevention

Stress is a known predictor of workplace violence.

If your employees or colleagues demonstrate symptoms of stress, do not wait to contact Huffmaster for assistance in workplace violence prevention and response.

Negative stress has been identified as both a source of workplace violence as well as a predictor of workplace violence.  Although the connection between preventing workplace violencestress and violence is not a direct one, decreasing office stress may be the most important measure an organization can take in terms of workplace violence prevention, and is certainly the easiest and least expensive. Whether your workplace environment appears to be stress-free or you are seeking strategies to create a healthier environment for your employees to reduce the possibilities of stress-invoked workplace violence, these four tips on stress reduction and workplace violence prevention are a great place to start.

  1. Cultivate a healthy office environment. You already know that organizations should and are sometimes legally obligated to provide training to instruct employees on developing work habits that inflict minimal harm, and your office may even go the extra mile, committing to provide each individual with equipment designed to prevent workplace injury and physical strain. But equally as important, there are many “soft” techniques to cultivate a healthy work environment. Such stress-reduction practices are easy to integrate into your existing office culture, but are just as easy to overlook. For example, stocking the break room with fresh fruit and nuts instead of processed snacks encourages healthier eating and reduces stress on every level. Atmosphere is also a significant stress factor. Increased contact with nature, such as indoor plants or sunshine, significantly decreases employees’ perceived stress levels. Creating opportunities for physical release is also a great stress killer. Invite a yoga instructor to come once a week during lunch (why not make it laughing yoga?) or create opportunities for movement by holding “walking meetings” rather than sitting around a table.
  2. Incorporate systems of mentorship. Making mentor relationships a priority position in your corporate culture is a great way to decrease office stress and prevent workplace violence. Scheduling a regular time for mentor sessions in the workweek not only encourages collaboration and healthy relationships among staff, it also nurtures the notoriously difficult task of fusing younger and older generations. Dedicating time for your employees to develop more personal investments in their professional pursuits with the help of a colleague also helps get people out of their own heads and relate to the organization on a more emotional level. Find a way to ensure that your entire staff is involved in the mentor process by making one-on-one mentor lunches or regular presentations a requirement (though make sure not to make this an additional stress!). When everyone is learning from and relating to each other, office stress and the potential for workplace violence significantly decreases.
  3. Celebrate every success.  There’s always enough time in the day to give someone a genuine pat on the back when they make a big sale or accomplish something significant. Recognizing each employee’s contributions to the company keeps everyone’s morale high and encourages others to do their best, too. After working hard to achieve, it’s important to release endorphins. Charging through day after day not only creates an immediate environment of stress, but the accumulative effects can build up and result in workplace violence. If gratefulness and recognition isn’t a common practice in the workplace environment, employees will certainly wind up unhappy and resentful toward management and likely each other. Foster an end-of-day routine that encourages employees to consider the hard work and achievements that everyone makes every day so they can return to the office the next day with the enthusiasm that will make your business productive and your workplace safe.
  4. Encourage relationships and fun. If an employee has a network of allies in the office, he or she is significantly less likely to commit an act of workplace violence. To encourage healthy, fun relationships amongst employees, try structuring them into teams and have them work within a reward system. These rewards can be as big or small as you would like them to be—anything from award certificates to a free lunch. It’s the idea of being recognized and rewarded — and not the reward itself — that will cultivate a stress-free environment and reduce the potential for workplace violence. Make sure to recognize the hard work put forth by every team and to maintain a light-hearted competitive attitude that fosters healthy relationships within and amongst teams. Both the fun sport-like competition and the bonding of teammates are great ways to establish workplace violence prevention.

While these tips will put you on the path to a stress- and violence-free workplace, should you want more advanced guidance, it is recommended that you speak to professionals who will work to understand your company’s process, culture and operating procedures to deliver a workplace security plan that meets your business needs. Huffmaster security professionals use their 100+ years of cumulative experience to provide proven, personalized workplace violence solutions. For more information on workplace violence prevention, contact Huffmaster today.

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Mike Saad, CPP

Senior Director Consulting Services at Huffmaster Crisis Response, LLC
Michael Saad is Senior Director of Consulting Services, Huffmaster Crisis Response, LLC. He is responsible for the security consulting line of business for the company. In that capacity he manages security program evaluation, corporate policy and procedure development, federal security compliance initiatives, corporate investigations, security threat and vulnerability analysis, and business risk management.
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