9 Steps to Create a Workplace Wellness Room to Relieve Employee Stress
09/20/2022 – Coleen is one of those busy ladies who can do it all! She juggles: a full-time work schedule, college courses (where she is on the Dean’s list), running a household for four; and makes sure to carve out one-on-one time with her husband of 21 years. When I sat down with her, I found out how much she loves her job and her idea to help fellow employees to relieve stress. *Read to the end of this article to find her 9 steps to create a workplace wellness room to relieve employee stress.
This 50-year-old mom to two young adults, who live at home, is loving life. Her job for the past 15 years as a Management Associate is with the Maryland Department of Social Services. This department oversees child welfare cases, provides adult services and family investment services as well as child support enforcement.
Coleen’s chief duty is to oversee quality assurance. In layman’s terms, she makes sure that all cases are running timely and are compliant with state mandates.
This brings her into a close working relationship with social workers and families who find themselves within the foster care and/or neglect system. While this may sound depressing, Coleen finds that her job as a support team member is very satisfying.
“I have never wanted to be a social worker. My main goal in life is to help others. In my job, I can do just that,” she said.
Not a simple job description
But being a “Management Associate” is more than managing paperwork. She handles team peer reviews and is the go-to person when one retires from the department by providing retiring staff members with information, resources and mounds of forms.
When she puts on her customer service hat, she attempts to iron-out customer complaints.
An Idea to Create a Workplace Wellness Room to Relieve Employee Stress
Her favorite aspect of her job is supporting the social workers whose jobs are sometimes quite stressful. Since she has an “open door” policy, many of them find their way into her office to vent. There is a basket of “squoosh” balls on her desk and a yoga ball to gently bounce on to decompress.
Her office provides a place of calm and quiet from the storm. It’s a refuge area.
This gave Coleen an idea when she heard about a Maryland Healthy Business grant. She envisioned a “wellness room” where workers can go for a break to get away from everything (and everyone) in order to unwind.
When the Wellness Team was awarded $1500, she made the *Wellness Room a reality.
Another Idea to Bring Happiness to the Workplace
Coleen brings her crafty side to her work as well.
She has created a birthday board to help each of the 84 workers in her building celebrate. Each month the board changes. There can be windmills, hearts or ladybugs crawling across the board announcing the dates of the birthday people.
With so many happy birthday wishes, it’s a guarantee that the birthday girl or boy has a very special day!
Why Coleen is Intent on Achieving a College Degree
A college degree had eluded Coleen during her younger days – never enough money or time to get it done.
She now carves out time during the week to attend virtual classes and complete assignments.
“My associate’s degree in business management with a concentration on human resources will help to re-class in the State system”, Coleen explains. “This will provide for a pay bump, open up additional job opportunities and eventually lead to a Human Resource Officer position.”
Coleen is not alone in going back to school as an adult. Non-traditional students, those who are 25 years old and older or those with children, now make up 74% of all undergraduate college students.
Satisfaction in volunteerism
Coleen is a cheerleader for various Department efforts to help those in need.
She encourages co-workers to join a team to participate in the annual Walk for Kids on the Ocean City boardwalk. This walk raises money to help in the fight against child abuse.
She also organizes the Red Nose Day which raises awareness of children in need.
Being a workaholic has its pitfalls
“I have recently found that I can’t be everything for everyone in my life,” she said. “It has taken its toll on me.”
While she may still find some time to play BINGO with her best friend, read an infrequent beloved murder mystery or hop on the back of her husband’s motorcycle for a morning ride, she just doesn’t find enough time for solitude.
But that is changing as she recently celebrated her half-century birthday.
She has decluttered her craft room and now has an organized space to work with her treasured photos, papers and punchers.
With spring in the air, Coleen will soon be found on the mighty Pocomoke River – aboard her new kayak!
“I’m looking forward to some quiet Me-time,” she said.
Although she has been kayaking only once or twice in her life, she is anxious to become proficient. Not only will she row on the river, she is lucky to be close to both the bay at Chincoteague and the bay at Ocean Pines, Maryland.
She will also be doing some fishing. And even with her recently developed seafood allergies, we’ll still be looking forward to some tasty flounder recipes!!
You can do it!
Coleen is rediscovering who she is. Although she is a woman who cares deeply for others, she has come to realize that there is more to life.
There are other aspects of herself – the person who wants to explore, be healthy and to never be the one to say “if only I would have……”
READERS? What are YOU waiting for?
*Create a Wellness Room to Help to Relieve Employee Stress
Here are Coleen’s 9 steps to create a wellness room to help to relieve employee stress:
- Survey fellow workers to find out what their health concerns are, what are everyday stressors and what recommendations they have to include in the room
- Locate a large enough space so that is not cramped; must offer privacy and be in a quiet area. Preferably has a window for natural light but also have room-darkening shades if needed
- Use lamps or a ceiling light fixture that can be dimmed
- Verify with your department head that the chosen room is available for this type of use.
- Check for any required liability waivers that must be signed by those using the room and equipment
- Use a sign-in sheet. This can be placed immediately outside of the room to allow for reserving the room
- Have an “occupied” sign to be hung on the door handle when the room is in use
- Only one person in the room at a time. This promotes quiet reflection rather than conversation with others
- Limit use to 15 minutes per session per person
What to Include in your Employee Wellness Room
What you purchase for your new wellness room depends on the size of your space and your budget. Of course, you should take into consideration what is being requested by your co-workers.
Remember, you are trying to create a stress-free, tranquil place where one can go to decompress. Here are some of the items that Coleen used:
- comfortable seating – she opted for a beanbag chair
- oscillating fan
- wall-mounted illustrated stretching exercise poster
- Yoga ball chair
- adult coloring books
- word game books
- Zen and/or inspirational books
Coleen also created a Zen atmosphere with a display of flameless candles and succulent plants.
As an extra special touch, Coleen often fills a candy dish with Hershey Kisses. Who doesn’t think that this says, “Welcome. Somebody loves you”?
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