Workplace stress is a common occurrence that affects a large number of employees.
According to a 2017 Thriving at work report, poor mental health including work-related stress, costs employers upwards of £33 billion annually.
Low levels of stress are thought of as ‘good stress’ and even important for allowing your staff to feel challenged and motivated. Higher levels of stress, however, are harmful to physical and mental health.
According to various reports, work is the most common cause of stress (59%) for adults in the UK. A 2017 NHS study revealed GPs wrote 573,000 sick notes relating to stress and anxiety–70,000 more than in the previous year.
Here at Health Assured, one of the most frequent issues we help people to deal with is workplace stress. Not only does it influence the productivity of your staff, but it can also affect their attendance and engagement.
With this in mind, it’s important to implement effective options for stress management in the workplace. In this piece, we’ll explore some top tips for managing stress at work.
Recognising when there’s a problem
Before you can help your workforce, you’ll need to know how to monitor stress levels in the workplace. It’s a good idea to educate managers to recognise the health effects of stress in the workplace and lookout for signs of it amongst employees.
Noticeable indicators of stress include:
- Changes in their normal behaviour.
- Changes in their appearance.
- Sudden lack of concentration and disorganisation.
- Increased instances of lateness or absenteeism.
Five ways to reduce workplace stress
When stress isn't addressed immediately, it can lead to other serious mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression.
Your staff aren’t required to inform you of their health problems as long as it doesn’t affect their ability to do their job. However, if they do inform you there are steps you can take to support them through this period.
With that in mind, we’ve put together some proactive steps you can take to support your employees.
- Stress management training: As the first step in improving wellbeing, these workshops were designed to educate your staff about stress. In them, attendees will learn the impacts, how to recognise the signs of and how to reduce stress in the workplace. After a Stress management workshop, your staff will be able to identify the physical and emotional symptoms such as increased irritability, lack of concentration, loss of appetite, regular headaches etc. By recognising these signs earlier, managers can offer workplace stress relief activities to help resolve these issues.
- Comprehensive wellbeing strategy: By incorporating an internal wellbeing strategy, you can support your employees through many issues they may be experiencing. It can also have a variety of business benefits. Apart from the impacts on motivation, productivity and absenteeism, a well thought out wellbeing strategy can reduce employee turnover, which’ll reduce the costs associated with recruitment. Consider including benefits that help to foster wellbeing such as gym memberships, cycle to work schemes, fitness days and health insurance.
- Employee Assistance Programme (EAP): An EAP proactively supports members of staff feeling stressed by offering a confidential way to resolve issues they may be experiencing, be it personal or professional. With this programme, a professionally trained counsellor can offer guidance on how to cope with problems in a healthy way. As well as offering tips to reduce workplace stress, they can also offer guidance on other issues such as health, debt and family matters.
- Culture of open communication: There’s a lot to be said about a workplace culture where your staff feel like they can talk comfortably without the fear of repercussions. This environment fosters better employee relationships between co-workers, which in turn improves productivity and overall wellbeing.
- Self-evaluations: This involves employees evaluating their workload and speaking to a manager about it if they feel overworked. The aim of this is to prevent employees from becoming stressed or falling behind in their work. After a self-evaluation, if they require tasks to be delegated or targets to be reconsidered, they can discuss this with you along with their ideas for balancing their workload.
For assistance with managing stress in your workplace, or if you want to know more about how to help—on any wellbeing subject—contact Health Assured on 0844 892 2493.