4 Ways to Relieve Stresses of Open Enrollment for HR Benefits Leaders

Written by Claire Bauer | November 23, 2018

Relieving Stresses of Open Enrollment
for HR Benefits Leaders 

It’s ironic that flu season and open enrollment season overlap… isn’t it? Annual enrollment may share similar “symptoms” to flu season, but who said the two need to be equally contagious? It doesn’t matter how much you or your team prepares (or sanitizes), the stress somehow always creeps in, and the pile of work across
your team multiplies.

If you’re benefits leader, you know how it feels - stress is easily contagious! After spending months designing benefits plans and sending internal communication emails to each department across your company, the list of questions will still add up – no matter how transparent your plan may be!

Yes, it’s important to provide the personalized support to your employees in helping them feel confident about their decisions – but it’s also important for you, as an HR professional and benefits leader, to give yourself a break and prevent burn-out.

Check out these 4 ways to relieve stresses of open enrollment for HR benefits leaders: 

1. Sit back & relax 

We know what you’re probably thinking, “how am I supposed to relax during our department's busy season?” But, that 2-minute mental break is more important than you may think it is. Listen to that new song your co-worker was talking about this morning, or take a 10-minute walk outside – whatever you need to do to clear your head and not think about enrollment.

Get your department together to step away from the office and talk about your upcoming weekend plans (and how much you need the weekend!). If it’s a nice day, get some fresh air together and do a lap around your building. Taking small opportunities to relax will help your team continue working hard and reduce the stresses of busy season.

2. Give your eyes a break

According to The Vision Council, about 80% of American adults report using digital devices for more than 2 hours per day with nearly 59% reporting symptoms of digital eye strain.

Take the time to blink when you are looking at the screen using the 20-20-20 rule. Taking a 20 second break every 20 minutes to look at an object 20 feet away. This technique will help prevent digital eye strain and provide little mental breaks throughout your busy day.

3. Stretch

Even though being seated is commonly connected to rest, that’s not the case in your department's situation, is it? We all know it’s healthy to stretch. If you have a standing desk, try standing to catch up on your email. If you don’t have a standing desk, sit up straight in your chair with your shoulders down. Stretching your arms above your head will also give yourself a nice break from email. These stretches will help to prevent fatigue and keep your muscles (and annual enrollment) moving smoothly!

4. Take your break

If you’re working 8 hours a day, you are given a break so take it! Allow yourself a lunch break - even if it’s 15 minutes. In addition, try eating somewhere other than your desk. Grab a co-worker and network with other departments in your organization and walk to lunch together.

Also, keep health eating habits in mind. Instead of going for a burger, try the new health market or smoothie bar! Consider snacking on these 5 foods that help tame stress to keep productivity high and stress at bay: 

  • Oranges
  • Spinach
  • Black Tea
  • Avocado (Bonus: Avocado toast makes for the perfect breakfast to lower cortisol, a stress hormone) 
  • Almonds 

These 4 ways to relieve stresses of open enrollment aren't only stress reducers but also help prevent that 'flu-like' annual enrollment virus from affecting your work productivity. By incorporating these 4 actions into your daily workflow, you'll get ahead — and stay ahead of your busy season stresses. 

Looking for more tips and tricks like these come annual enrollment season? Download our Annual Enrollment Guide eBook to learn how to effectively communicate plan options.


Topics: For Employers