Encouraging stress management in the workplace

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Health Assured team

05 December 2023

What is stress?

Stress usually occurs when there is too much pressure. Manageable pressure can be a good thing, something to healthily motivate individuals. Nevertheless, too much pressure can quickly turn into stress and give your people burnout.

Stress can be damaging to your people’s mental health and also have a knock-on effect on your organisation. Despite this according to the Workplace Health Report of 2023, there is a 9% increase from 2022 to 2023 in employees experiencing moderate-to-high stress levels.

With this in mind, stress is still widespread in our workplaces and it is essential to practice stress management.

Why is it important to encourage stress management in the workplace?

Some amounts of manageable stress can motivate and drive people which can contribute to productivity levels. Yet, negative implications stem from stress at work, including burnout.

A major consequence of stress is the impact it has on pre-existing mental health disorders such as depression and anxiety. Dealing with too much stress can exacerbate mental health struggles and can worsen the progress of mental wellbeing.

Stress also encourages difficulty sleeping, irritability and decreased self-esteem. Physical issues can occur when the body is dealing with too much stress, like ulcers or heart attacks.

Employees and colleagues with poor mental wellbeing and low physical health contribute to decreased productivity, increased sickness, and higher employee turnover, all negatively affecting your organisation.

How can employers implement stress management?

  1. Risk Assessment

It is the law that any organisation with five or more employees need to have written risk assessments.

Risk assessments can be a good way to show your employees what is expected but also to find out if there are any risks of stress in your workplace. A stress specific risk assessment with help you identify any possible hazards that need to be addressed and if they can be reduced.

You may want to apply a regular review, each year so you can keep on top of stress management.

  1. Paid Time Off

Ultimately, having colleagues off due to sickness is not great for your organisation’s growth. However, if a colleague is stressed due to work you may want to offer them some time off with pay.

When someone is overly stressed that they can no longer work, they need to rest or it can lead to burnout.

Providing paid time off will allow individuals in the headspace to relax and healthily process the stress without having to worry about finances.  

Once a colleague has had time to think clearly, they will feel refreshed and able to come back to work without taking extended sickness periods.

  1. Discuss Stress

Creating an open and honest communication culture within the workplace is fundamental when it comes to managing employees.

Having open discussions about workplace stress and explaining ways to combat stress in the workplace will encourage employees to understand how it affects them and how they can find ways in which to cope. Your people will gain different perceptions and unique ways in which to manage their own stress.

Moreover, openly discussing stress management can identify and highlight the causes of stress to employers allowing them to support their people further.

  1. Realistic Workloads

As an employer, it is essential to set realistic and achievable workloads. Ensure that you understand your people’s capabilities and know the amount of work that is enough for each person. Your people should have enough time to complete the task without too much pressure.

In addition, have regular check-ins with employees, and discuss with them any issues they may be having with the work and how you can support them.

  1. Raise Awareness

 Raising awareness for stress management is a great tool to keep colleagues informed and give them the ability to cope with their stress. Include resources so your colleagues can refer back to them to support them when they need help.

Incorporate stress management training into your awareness days or hours, providing knowledge and skills to help your people when they feel stressed.

Signpost to external support such as helplines and counsellors. Health Assured offers an Employee Assistance Programme which provides support from professional and trained counsellors to your people 24/7.

How to support your employee with stress in the workplace

Our Employee Assistance Programme provides guidance and supports your employees with their mental health in the workplace and in life. We can help you create a safe, productive workspace that supports all.

We support employees mental wellbeing with any problems they might be facing in their professional or personal lives with our 24-hour counselling helpline.

 

Find out more about EAPs

 

 

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