Help Employees Manage Back-To-School Stress

School is back in session for many and this means your employees are readjusting their family routines. The school year brings hectic morning schedules, rushing to get children on the bus and busy nights helping with homework, carpooling to sports practice or attending extracurricular activities. Encourage your employees to establish new wellness routines during this transition period to keep the whole family happier and healthier.

Back to school time creates stress on parents and kids as they try to juggle work, school and home life. These stressors for your employees are often brought to the office with them. Offer programs to decrease stress and help employees connect with their families. Our Quest to Stress Less turnkey program, found on the members-only online resource center, can help employees manage the school year stress.

On a similar note, consider implementing sleep programming. Help your employees get a better night’s sleep and feel more rested, so they can be more productive during the workday.

Back to school time also means children may be bringing home pesky germs. Employers should promote good hygiene such as hand washing, keeping workstations clean and knowing when to stay home when sick.

At the same time, promote healthy nutrition. Distribute healthy lunch or dinner recipes, so busy parents can make meals on the fly that are delicious and nutritious. Concentrate on higher protein and fiber packed meals that will leave employees and their families energized and focused.

Finally, just as children are tempted to unwind in front of the TV for hours after school, your employees need to take screen-time breaks as well. Encourage frequent breaks throughout the day in which employees get up from their desks to take a short walk, stretch or eat a healthy snack.

If you need more ideas for how to foster healthy employee routines for back to school time, visit our online resource page and its 122 low-cost or no-cost ideas for worksite wellness. Contact the Wellness Helpline at (317) 264-2168 with questions.

The Intern Chronicles: Sleep Deprivation has its Costs ($150 Billion for U.S. Businesses)

I’m tired.

A good weekend in Chicago (where I got about as much sleep as can be expected from a young man enjoying a good weekend in Chicago) came to an end Sunday night as my car crawled into the driveway at around 2 a.m. I figured it was fine, because a few solid nights of sleep throughout the week would catch me up.

Let’s just say there’s a reason my roommate and I decided against cable during the school year. So, a few more nights of bad television/sleep deprivation brings me to today, where I am cursing bad decisions and longing for my blankie. I mean …

Anyway, as luck would have it, one of the projects I was assigned to this week involves running lines of information through the Chamber’s database. It’s just a few simple clicks for each line, but there are lots of them — LOTS of them. It’s not awful but it’s the type of repetitive work you’d hate to do without a full night’s rest.

Taking a break from the monotony to research what was on my mind, I came across a web site for the Better Sleep Council, which said that half of American employees just don’t get enough sleep. According to the site, the problem has led to some substantial on-the-job consequences, including the following:

• 31 % of survey respondents said that sleep deprivation impaired their quality and accuracy of work.
• Sleep deprivation currently costs U.S. businesses nearly $150 billion annually in absenteeism and lost productivity.
• The National Transportation Safety Board identified fatigue as a prominent factor in the infamous Exxon Valdez oil spill.

While I don’t foresee my weariness causing any catastrophic environmental disasters, I do want to steer clear of workplace fatigue. From my extensive research, it looks like this can be achieved by — you guessed it — getting more sleep.  I plan on turning things around by starting to hit the sack early, and I plan on starting tonight.

Just right after I check out what’s happening on Letterman.