5 Ways To Decrease Student Stress At The Office

By Alexandra Brown on February 4, 2016

Offices are stressful spaces. A lot is going on (hopefully). Phones are ringing, meetings are happening, presentations are being made, but this is good. It means things are getting done, deadlines are being met, and success is taking place.

Everyone deals with stress in different ways, and some better than others. This is especially true in an office setting. While more experienced, higher-ups have been in the game longer and have a better handle on certain situations, younger, less experienced newcomers might have a more difficult time doing this.

These less experienced members of the office are often interns, which are often students. Whether they are looking for summer internship experience to put on a resume, or to even obtain full-time employment when the internship is completed, more students are setting foot into the office atmosphere earlier on in their professional careers.

It is only normal and natural for young students who have very little or no experience in an office to feel uncomfortable, intimidated and eventually stressed out.

Here are five ways to decrease student stress at the office.

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1. Prepare the student.

After the hiring process, and before the position begins its duration, the student should be trained. This should be a somewhat in-depth process to ensure that the student knows exactly what’s required and expected of them, where everything is in the office, the current staff, and anything else important.

This training decreases student stress at the office because it makes them more aware of everything that’s going to happen. The more of their questions that are answered, the less anxious and intimidated they will feel entering an office setting.

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2. Treat them like they matter.

Yes, it is understandable that your company could be in need of an intern to complete basic tasks like getting coffee, copying papers, going on runs other experienced office members don’t want to go on, and organizing the office supply cabinet.

While you can ask them to complete these basic tasks, understand that they are educated and most likely capable of doing more. Don’t be afraid to allow them to take on a little bit more responsibility every week, and sooner or later, they will have actually accomplished something for your office.

Allowing them to actually participate in the office reduces their stress because the student can feel like they’re actually accomplishing something and not wasting their summer.

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3. Promote extracurricular activities with staff outside of the office.

Depending on how formal or close-knit the specific company is, this may or may not be appropriate. But for example, say the office is pretty small and close-knit. Especially in the summer, promote the local baseball or softball league, or other sports such as bowling or volleyball. Outside of sports, there are also staff outings like lunch, a baseball game or happy hour.

Promoting these activities and allowing for the students in your office to engage in them decreases their stress because it lets them feel more included, and like more a part of the team.

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4. Allow for movement throughout and outside of the office.

One of the ways students, and people in general become stressed is by sitting in the same place for too long, without a variety of activity going on.

Don’t expect the student working in your office to remain sitting at their desks from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day. They don’t have enough tasks to even be working on for that long, and sitting for that long is not healthy; it also creates stress.

Make sure the student knows this is not expected of them, and send them out for runs often. They’ll get some fresh air, some time out of the office, and they’ll be doing the things no one else has time to do, so it’s a win for the office as well.

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5. Have a social lunch at least once a week.

The student may have gotten to meet members of the staff in their early training period before their position started, but once they got going, it probably wasn’t a very social setting.

Go out of your way to have a social gathering of staff and office members for lunch at least once a week. This will give everyone in the office a chance to be social with each other, and especially will give the student the opportunity to get to know everyone better.

Not only will having a lunch break throughout the day where they do not have to do work relieve the student’s stress, but the other office members also get the chance to socialize and relieve some of their stress. Social lunches are a great way for the office to come together for at least one hour a week, talk about something other than work, and relieve similar stress together.

By Alexandra Brown

Uloop Writer
University of Illinois
Hi! I'm Alexandra Brown, a current senior at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. I am a News-Editorial Journalism major, and am also working toward a Spanish minor. I love writing, especially about pop-culture, so I hope I can entertain you!

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