In the United Kingdom on average anyone who experiences work-related stress can lose 24 days a year of absence from work. According to research from 2018 up to 74% of people feel overwhelmed or unable to cope – 81% of women and 67% of men.
Stress is a normal part of life and work so it’s essential that measures are put in place to ensure that individuals never feel that their stress levels at work are out of control.
Here are a few suggestions on how businesses and organisations can manage the workplace and mitigate the impact of stress on the workplace.
Unfortunately, it’s a fact that most employees’ workplace stress comes from their managers. Research has shown that bosses can cause employees to lose sleep, suffer from anxiety, dread going to work, and can lead to high blood pressure. To prevent employees from suffering from stress and poor health it’s vital that managers can work to implement a culture of open and honest communication where well-being and mental health are discussed openly and with empathy and any sense of shame is dispersed within the workplace.
Over time this builds into the culture of the business and creates openness and honesty which get reflected in terms of the work that employees produce and contributes to the long-term success of the business.
Encourage Employees to Take Breaks
Regular breaks and time away from screens are essential to ensure good mental and physical health and well-being for employees. If your employees are working flat out to get through their workload, then perhaps it’s time to address resources and capacity issues so that you can introduce an environment that is more conducive to generating a more efficient and productive workforce.
Consider offering More Flexible Working
On the back of the pandemic more and more employees have focused on their work-life balance and have embraced remote or hybrid working and flexible hours. The impact of this has been significant in terms of increasing employee productivity as people always work harder when they are happier and feeling more balanced.
The fear that people just won’t work hard or be reliable was destroyed during the pandemic where most businesses saw workforce productivity increase and profitability rise. Moreover in an increasingly competitive jobs market where skills are short employers can start to attract the people, they need by offering a more flexible approach toward work which moves away from set hours and days in the office or workplace.
Ensure that Employees take all their Holiday Allowances
Rolling over unused holidays for employees is a bad sign, not only of a potentially stressed employee but also is a sign of poor management. By ensuring that staff book all their holiday entitlement managers can be reassured that their team members will be getting the rest and relaxation they need to reenergize and perform to their peak on their return to work.
Managers should lead by example by ensuring they plan and take their annual leave and take a break from a busy work schedule so that it’s not even questioned when employees request their holiday. Managers should certainly never block holidays except for when their real emergencies, as this just demonstrates bad planning on their part for the business.
Offer Mental and Physical Health Benefits as part of a Package
Increasingly employers are offering some great health benefits to employees such as gym membership, health insurance, and discounts on healthy lifestyle purchases. As this becomes more the norm employers will need to provide these across the board as this will be another great enticement to attract great people to support business growth and ambition.
Research has shown that 88% of employees said that the quality and availability of health benefits were key to influencing their decision to take a new role when applying for new jobs. This is important as it truly demonstrates how the business values employees and creates a culture where their health and wellbeing are central pillars within the business.
Provide a Great Working Environment
For employees who still come into the office, it’s important to create an inviting and comfortable space. Good quality décor and well-designed office and other equipment help to create the right ambiance. Plants in the office have been demonstrated to make a big impact on workers’ moods as does good lighting and well-controlled heat and cooling systems. Add to this good quality kitchen and break-out spaces where staff can relax and socialise, and you start to develop the right recipe for reducing stress and bringing harmony to the workplace.
Reward and Recognition
Recognizing and valuing the work of your employees is essential to building a more positive and stress-free working environment. Spending time building a culture that celebrates success and which values employees are rewarded by producing more motivated and happier workers reduces stress levels and ensure that employees are more likely to stay loyal and committed to your business or organisation.
Learn more about managing mental health in the workplace by checking out some of the recent blog posts – here are a few suggestions: