Staying safe in warmer times
April 26 2021Read more
Stress can develop in any job, even if your employees love what they do. Combine the stressors of normal work life such as deadlines, busy periods and big projects with the mental health risks of a global pandemic, your team members could be at risk of developing a serious mental health issue if left unchecked.
With Stress Awareness Week 2020 fast approaching on the 2nd November, employers are being encouraged to review their workplace wellbeing strategies with a focus on how to reduce covid-related stress in their team members.
Experiencing stress at work can have physical and mental effects on your employees. While every individual is different, there are some common physical and behavioural signs of a stressed team member, they include reduced focus and concentration, a lack in confidence, mood swings and a sudden change in their weight.
For the most part, small amounts of stress can be beneficial as it encourages us to perform at our optimum capacity. However, when employee stress levels reach critical status, it can harm productivity, while increasing sickness and absence rates.
Reduced absenteeism: Stress is one of the leading causes of staff absences in the workplace and reports show that workplace absence costs the UK economy £18bn in lost productivity. While in Ireland, up to 11 million days are lost through absenteeism every year at a cost of €1.5bn to the Irish economy. By supporting employees experiencing increased pressure at work, you will be able to reduce stress and anxiety-related absences.
Employee retention: Employees will be less likely to look for other opportunities if they feel valued and aren’t overly stressed at work. The same goes for potential team members, as they will be more motivated to accept a new position at an organisation that supports and invests in the wellbeing of their staff.
Work-life balance: Due to the pandemic, some of your employees may have had to cancel their holiday plans. Encourage your team to use their annual leave to have a well-earned break away from work. You should also monitor how often they respond to emails outside work hours and highlight it before they become burnt out.
Stability: For some employees, establishing a routine is critical to maintaining their mental health, especially for those who are new to working from home. The more your people can imitate their normal working day, the better. Such as continuing regular team meetings and one-on-ones via video calling software.
Communication: This may sound like a simple rule, but it’s an essential one. Ensure that you communicate any workplace changes with plenty of notice to your people. This can include remote working practises, new technologies available and IT updates. The more informed your people are, the more prepared they will be to tackle stressful situations.
Social interaction: For those employees who have been shielding or self-isolating, social interaction will have been scarce for much of the year. Host regular virtual staff social events to encourage team building and positive relationships. Suggestions include a monthly book club or a staff social on the last Friday of the month.
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