It’s Mental Health Awareness Week in the UK, and businesses are being encouraged to talk about how stress in the workplace can be minimised. A recent Deloitte Global Trends report found that 59% of British adults in employment name work as the most common cause of stress, and 1 in 10 employees are calling in sick due to stress. Not only does this have a negative impact on the individual but it can affect the business as a whole. Stress is contagious, and it can pass from one employee to the next, which for some, can result in burnout. It is important for senior management to recognise and proactively understand what could be causing ongoing stress.
So, how can businesses support their employee’s wellbeing and prevent workplace burnout?
Identify the problem
More often than not, we only deal with stress and mental health challenges once they have reached breaking point and unsurprisingly, helping to alleviate the problem is less effective and more challenging than preventing the problem from occurring. Companies should be developing ways to make It easier for employees to speak to their managers about stress. Instead of waiting for stress to build up, employers should also offer wellbeing practices to allow their employees to address stress.
Offering activities such as yoga or ping-pong, making chill out areas or having a massage therapist come into the office once a month are just a few examples of ways to allow your employees some time to relax and de-stress.
Many employees seek flexible working to create a better work life balance, and while companies recognise the need for this, only 8 percent report that their workplace initiatives are “very effective” at creating a personalised, flexible solution. If your employees are not client facing all the time, there can be some flexibility in their work schedule. Allow your employees to work from home when they need to and encourage flexible hours.
As we all know, physical activity alleviates stress and over half of workers say that they would exercise or go to the gym more if they had flexible hours. Giving your staff the opportunity to work flexible hours will boost employee morale and increase productivity.
Without proper support, employee stress levels can escalate. A recent report by Canada Life Group found that 23% of staff feel that their employer does not care about their health and wellbeing with 54% of staff saying that their employer does not provide any services to support their health and wellbeing.
Being able to talk frankly and openly about workplace stress or anxiety is essential when trying to maintain a happy and healthy workforce. Business leaders should make their employees aware of the support network that is in place and encourage people to open up about their stress or anxiety. Managers offering regular one-to-one meetings will help employees feel supported while giving them the chance to address their stress triggers.
Manage your work
Stress can be related to many things, once of which is not feeling in control. If someone feels like tasks are getting out of hand and they are stressing about the amount of work they have to do, encourage them to stop and take a step back. If time is an issue, write down tasks and prioritise them. Once this is in place, working through each task one at a time, will help them feel in control and will allow some stress to alleviate. Some apps that can help with this include like Wunderlist or Remente.
If workplace stress is an issue in your organisation, ensure you implement some solutions to address the problem. A stressed workforce is an unproductive workforce and will eventually impact your business and HR. Management should identify any problems before they arise and offer employees wellbeing activities to help manage stress. Workplace burnout may also increase staff turnover, so if businesses want to protect their reputation and attract future talent, they must have measures in place to prevent burnout and encourage a happy and healthy workforce.
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