Stress Awareness Day: three tips for a happier workplace

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Wednesday, 1st of November is International Stress Awareness Day (ISAD), which aims to raise public awareness about (you guessed it) stress, its symptoms and preventative measures. They day is also dedicated to promoting the importance of employee well being in the workplace.

Good stress, bad stress

No workplace is 100% stress-free. And in fact, a smidgen of stress can be good for us. Stress releases a bundle of chemicals and hormones, causing physiological changes to our bodies that can have a positive impact on work performance. Good stress gets our adrenaline pumping and heart rate climbing, causing productivity and motivation levels to skyrocket.

But then, there’s bad stress. The kind of stress caused by unrealistic expectations, strained colleague relationships or unmanageable workloads. This is the type of stress that makes people not want to turn up to work on a Monday morning, and can be really detrimental to our health in the long-term. This stress needs to be abolished once and for all from the office.

What can you do?

As tribe leader, all you want is for your tribe to be healthy and happy. It all starts with you mastering your own stress management and then leading by example. Here are three top tips to keep bad stress at bay in your workplace:

Trust, challenge and support

There’s a difference between encouraging your tribe to take risks, step out their comfort zones and challenge themselves; and asking too much of them. We all want to feel like we’re progressing and heading somewhere – you need to provide the tools and training they need to flourish in their roles, making sure you organise regular one-to-ones to review their efforts and ask if there’s anything else you could be doing to help them out. Stress breeds out of boredom, so do all you can to keep things fun and fulfilling for your tribe.

Be flexible

For many employees, the twice-daily rush hour commute is the worst thing about their working day. In fact, in its study published last year, the University of Dusseldorf uncovered that traffic fumes and noise raise a person’s risk of hypertension, or high blood pressure. To stop your tribe feeling tense in traffic, offer flexible working options. This might involve you opening the office early so they can start and leave before the daily rush; or, giving them the chance to work from home a couple of days a week. Flexible working is fast becoming an essential office perk, with top talent scouting out companies that offer it.

Team build

Poor peer support is cited as a top reason for workplace stress. Employees can only work at their best if they feel like their colleagues and managers have their back; when they feel like they’re part of a workplace family. This is why organising regular team building trips is a must – they give you and your tribe the chance to get to know one another on a more personal level, and sharpen many of the key skills related to terrific teamwork.

Building a top-class tribe requires you to step out of the office and head to a more stimulating environment, away from desks and workloads. The heart of the forest is the perfect place to de-stress and build bonds, and in amongst the trees, you’ll find our Go Ape courses!

Come and hang out with Go Ape for the morning or whole day, taking part in hand-picked activities to suit your needs and budget. We strongly recommend embarking on a Tree Top Adventure – some serious stress-busting takes place in the canopy!

The effect of millennials in the workplace

Man using tablet whilst drinking coffee
Millennials, born between 1980 and 2000, are entering employment in droves and this is having a profound impact on the workplace. They are the first generation to grow up in a tech-saturated world, and their priorities are hugely different to those of their predecessors.

According to PwC, millennials will make up half of the global workforce by 2020. They are – and will continue to be – a powerful generation of workers and those with the right skillsets will be in high demand.

So, let’s took a look at some of the key job priorities of Gen Y, which will give us a good idea of how they’re making waves in the workplace…

A lust for learning

Top of the list for millennials, says PwC, is their personal learning and development. This makes it vital for employers to be able to provide them with the right tools and training they need to climb that career ladder.

Flexibility

9-5 days spent working in silos don’t appeal to millennials. They crave flexibility; they want to have their say about how they work, where they work and when they work, as they strive to achieve that golden work/life balance.

From hot-desking to remote working, there are many ways you can achieve flexibility in the office. Just bear this in mind: money comes third on the priority list behind development and work/life balance, so trying to seal the deal by offering cash bonuses isn’t going to cut it.

Tech-savvy

Millennials are tech-savvy, that’s a given. But they also want the companies they work for to harness the latest tools and tech, as they see this as key to innovation. PwC points out that many Gen Ys feel held back by rigid or outdated working styles, and if they feel held back, it won’t be long until they search for other opportunities. If you’re admittedly behind on the times, why not ask millennials to guide and educate you, and lead the change?

Generational tensions

Millennials are happy working with older generations as well as being mentored. But as PwC notes, 38% of Gen Ys don’t think that older senior management relate to them, with 34% believing that their personal drive was seen as intimidating to older generations. Taking part in team building exercises – where the entire workforce are given the chance to get to know one another better – will help to relieve any tensions and build better bonds. (Psst: you can always team build in the canopy at your local Go Ape course!).

Sustainability

Millennial are the green generation. They want to work for companies that care and take proactive steps to enforce ethical practices which reduce their impact on the environment and society as a whole.

So, what does all this mean for you? Perhaps most importantly, if you want to attract and retain highly-skilled, talented millennials workers, you must make sure that your jobs and company as a whole offers exactly what they’re looking for. Sure, it might require you to switch up some of your practices, but will it be worth it in the long run? Absolutely.

Go Ape do Team Solutions At Battersea!

Team Development Knot Tie Activity
Here at Go Ape, when we talk about how fantastic, memorable and team-building our corporate adventures are, we make sure we have the experience to back us up.

We’re not just talking about our work with the endless companies that have tackled our award-winning Tree Top Adventures, helping them release their inner ape on the high ropes and unleash their hidden explorer on our Forest Segway’s we’re talking about our very own tribe! We try before you buy to make sure our days are as team-building, team-bonding and smooth-running as possible.

Also, let’s be honest, a day out in the forest is ten times more fun than a regular day in the office, even if it is at the mighty Banana HQ itself!

In honour of our brand new Team Solutions Days, we decided to put the marketing and corporate teams at Banana HQ through their paces at Go Ape Battersea course of our very first London adventure! Of course, if you’re not based in London, you don’t need to worry it’s still possible to give your tribe a fix of Go Ape magic we now offer corporate events at 31 locations throughout the UK, so you and your tribe can’t possibly be too far away from all the fun of the forest!

So, whilst we’ve had companies coming to try their hand at the high ropes and screaming out Tarzan calls as they shoot along the zip-wires for many a year, our Team Solutions Days offer a little something extra. To get the very best out of your team, you need to know what makes them tick, so we offer a professional facilitator to assess your tribe’s objectives and help plan a full day of discovery into how your team performs as a unit.

Whether you’re team-building way up high, or indulging in ground-level tasks, we’ll make sure our activities leave your team as a force to be reckoned with.

Just like Banana HQ, you could spend a morning enjoying team-based activities, followed by a tasty lunch and an afternoon in the trees, getting to grips with our famous adventures. Every tribe is different, so we can work with you, tailoring the day to suit your needs and budget so that each member of your tribe is gently drawn out of their shell during the day. After all, comfort zones are cosy spots ‘but nothing ever grows there!

Finally, one of the best things about planning a Go Ape adventure for your team is the sheer convenience. You can start the day at 9am and be home by 5.30pm ‘it’s an accessible adventure for all!

So, what are you waiting for? It’s time to give dreary traditional team-building games the boot and show your tribe how to seize adventure with both hands, contact our team today to find out more about how Team Solutions can work for you!

Why too many meetings and emails lead to bad team development

Office Meeting
Business meetings have been hailed one of the biggest office time-wasters, and we can’t say we’re surprised. We’re sure, in the past, you’ve found yourself sat in the boardroom, eyelids heavy, stifling yawn after yawn while thinking, “Surely this could have been resolved in a five minute chat?”

…But no. An hour and a half later, you’re still sat in that stuffy room, eyes now fully glazed over, and you’ve started to daydream about dinner, and plans for the weekend, and your holiday next month. Then, whoever’s speaking asks you a question. *Gulp.*

And then, we have emails. Claimed to be a super-efficient mode of communication, which we don’t doubt for a second – but why do we feel compelled to compile a message on email when we can just ask our work chum, who’s sat less than a metre away from us, the question about that project with our mouths!?

Yes, meetings can be effective, and yes, email is a great way to keep in contact with colleagues and clients. But too many of either can sap productivity and motivation, and end up having a huge impact on team development.

In meetings, people tend to talk at people (while others listen). When we send emails, we talk to one another, but digitally. See what’s lacking here? Quality, genuine, two-way interactions, which are vital for good team development.

Tip-top communication is what makes good tribes great, so it’s time to sign-off from email, shut that boardroom door, and start developing your tribe the Go Ape way!

Have fun developing in the forest

Have you heard about our Team Development days? In a nutshell, you and your tribe get to escape the office for the day to reconnect, in the beautiful surrounds of the forest, as you take on a whole heap of tree-mendous activities.

The two-three hour session is aimed at improving communication among your tribe, as well as skills related to teamwork and problem-solving.

A couple of activities you can expect to take part in include the Plank Walk, which requires oodles of communication from every tribe member as you try to walk in synch (chanting “left, right, left, right, left right”). And then there’s the Blindfold Knot, where you’ll have to rely on tip-top communication to create a human-sized knot…blindfolded!

A Team Development day is an opportunity to bring all of your tribe together, away from life’s little (but many) distractions, and bond on a deeper level. And we guarantee that you’ll feel the positive impact the very next day in the office, when communication between all members of your tribe will be flowing!

Find out about our different team building days here …
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