The“Less Stress!” Program – intive’s Answer to Forced Isolation and Work-Related Anxiety

The third Monday of January is infamously known as the gloomiest day of the year. Aptly named “Blue Monday”, it represents the cheerless culmination of miserable weather, post-festivities credit card bills, and New Year’s resolutions, already broken.

Although most psychiatrists agree that the notorious Blue Monday is just a myth, and there is no such thing as a one-day depression, it makes us stop in our tracks and think of work and our mental health, and how they are interconnected. It is a serious issue, and has been getting more and more attention, especially during the time of the global coronavirus pandemic.

Remote work has greatly interfered with our daily rhythms. The usual work-life-balance has been disrupted in an unprecedented way. Furthermore, lack of physical contact with colleagues means no more proverbial “water cooler talks” – however silly they might have sometimes seemed, these short breaks provided a much-needed breather from the pressing and important life and work issues everyone has to deal with on a daily basis. All of these changes have taken an enormous toll on our bodies and minds, causing additional stress and leading in turn to anxiety, depression, or other mental health problems.

Our answer

At intive we realized it straight away and we came up with an all-around and multi-channeled solution. “Less Stress!” is a collection of activities that aim to provide our employees with tools to better deal with stress in everyday situations. An important part of the program is also to raise awareness about mental health and breaking the taboo which still lingers around the issues of mental disorders and therapy. We approached mental health in a holistic manner, organizing a program of activities structured on several levels: individual support, support for managers, team and company support.

What we have done

The program was first introduced in 2020. Since then, we’ve organized numerous coaching sessions, training and webinars on topics such as mental resilience, burnout, self-control and motivation. We have also been running a discussion forum on Teams where our employees are welcome to talk about stress, in all its different shapes and sizes. We share personal strategies for coping with anxiety - we offer suggestions, but most importantly - we listen.

Everyone is welcome to turn for help to the HR department, and the managerial staff is also involved in the program. Managers learn about mental health topics, such as, for example, the symptoms of burnout, so that they can react quickly and appropriately when they first spot them in their team members.

On top of it, we’ve teamed-up with the Institute of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy to provide individual assistance of an experienced psychologist to our employees. What’s important, these therapeutic sessions are organized anonymously to guarantee maximum safety and comfort.

Outcomes

The response of our employees has exceeded our expectations. Indeed, each of the webinars was attended by over 100 participants and the subsequent recorded videos were viewed by many others.

Furthermore, the program has motivated intivers to organize autonomous stress-relieving activities themselves. One of the most successful examples here are the yoga and meditation classes that were held remotely via the Microsoft Teams platform. We can therefore assume that our program has perfectly answered the needs of our team and helped them find the right instruments to get through these tough and trying times!



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