Decreasing workplace stress

9th May 2016
Jordan Mulcare

Providing employees with a suitable work-life balance can be quite the challenge for employers. Incentives including office pets, flexible working hours, team building exercises or a steady routine can all have a positive impact. However, implementing this balance across a team of individuals with varying motivators, interests and backgrounds is no easy feat. On average British workers spend 43 hours a week sat at their desks and one in five admit to spending the entire day behind their screen, without a break.

To combat the temptation of making the office a home-from-home, the Management team at industrial automation software expert, COPA-DATA UK, decided to implement a twelve-week course to encourage its team to lead healthier and happier lives, both at work and at home. Led by motivational speaker and business coach Ruth Steggles, the COPA-DATA UK team embarked on Fresh Air for Happiness: a three-month programme which promises a happier, more content and creative workforce.

Regardless of the weather, COPA-DATA UK’s team of eight headed outdoors for around an hour each week and, as a team, worked through personal and business attitudes and issues surrounding themes such as gratitude, self-belief, exploring the limits of your comfort zone and confronting bad habits.

There is an abundance of scientific research identifying the clear connection between happiness and exercise. Increasing endorphins and other feel-good chemicals in the brain, exercise can also reduce stress hormones including cortisol and adrenaline. However, the Fresh Air for Happiness program does more than simply encourage light exercise. The course promises to help participants cope with stress, become more focused and most importantly, improve the overall wellness of the team.

“We began the course in October 2015, completing it twelve weeks later. However, the benefits of the program have had a lasting effect,” explained Emma Churches, Office and Finance Manager at COPA-DATA UK. “The team plans to continue reaping the rewards of the program by taking part in quarterly, half day refreshers, as suggested by the course leader, Ruth Steggles.”

"It was a joy to work with the team at COPA-DATA UK,” explained Steggles. “What I particularly noticed was each of the team taking more personal responsibility for the interactions they had. This led to better relationships at home and work. They had always got on well, but it took their relationships to another level. They all started coping with stress better than they had done in the past and the confidence of some of the team really grew as they pushed themselves outside their comfort zone

."COPA-DATA is the provider of industrial automation software, zenon. Operating from its headquarters in Austria, COPA-DATA has a network of offices throughout Europe, North America and Asia, as well as partners and distributors around the world. COPA-DATA UK is Headquartered in South Wales, at Langstone Business Park near Newport, and has a Northern Branch at Daresbury Innovation Centre, Cheshire.

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