How to Manage Stress at Work
Posted by Tom Paxman – Sales & Marketing Director
Due to employees having to work longer hours and manage heavier workloads, stress is having a growing influence on the modern workplace. According to HSE, there were over half a million reported cases of work-related stress, anxiety or depression in the past year alone, with factors such as tight deadlines, poor management and workload pressure regularly cited as the primary causes.
Under the Health and Safety Act, 1974, and the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations, 1999, businesses have a legal obligation to minimise the risk of their employees suffering from work-related stress. Additionally, with stress-related issues accounting for 57% of all workplace absences in 2018, employers need to place an emphasis on tackling the issues through risk assessments, stress awareness courses and the development of new health and safety policies.
Not only do they have a legal obligation to help manage stress in the workplace, businesses are also hoping to reduce the harm being done to productivity, absence rates and cost-effectiveness. Here are some of the more popular ways to help employees manage high stress levels; maintaining a happier, healthier and more productive workforce.
Although people will react to short-term stress in different ways, the mental and physical effects of chronic stress can always be incredibly damaging. So, it’s important for all businesses to provide a general awareness of stressful factors in the workplace and how employees of all levels can deal with them, which is exactly what our stress awareness courses are designed to do.
By providing all employees with the proper training, your staff members will be much better placed to recognise the signs of stress in both themselves and their colleagues; helping to create a more
supportive environment and teaching them how to cope with high-stress situations. Our courses will show employees how best to manage work-related stress, ultimately reducing the adverse effects it can have on their performance and attendance.
According to a study carried out by the World Health Organisation earlier this year, at least one in three adults aren’t getting enough exercise, while a recent Pure Gym survey found stress at work to be the leading cause of inadequate physical activity.
Regular exercise is one of the most effective ways of reducing stress in the workplace, releasing endorphins which lift the mood, increase energy and ultimately make employees feel more focused.
Employers should be reinforcing the importance of physical activity by encouraging staff members to take a walk on their lunch break or offering discounted gym membership; while modern offices are becoming more flexible in their working hours to make it easier for staff to exercise during the day.
When employees feel disposable and fear for their jobs, high levels of stress are incredibly difficult to manage. By communicating regularly with staff members, offering them encouragement and
providing performance-based recognition, managers will ensure employees feel significantly more valued and appreciated; creating a more comfortable workplace which prevents stressful
factors from becoming truly overwhelming. When employees are able to build a rapport with senior members of staff, they feel more engaged in their work and how the business is developing, while also becoming much more relaxed when faced with a tight deadline or particularly heavy workload.
The latest studies from HSE show that the biggest cause of work-related stress is a heavy workload. While some businesses are trying to combat this issue by promoting simple time-management
techniques, many employers are beginning to see the value in offering flexible hours and remote working options.
Not only does this allow employees to tackle heavy workloads in their own way and increase productivity, it also helps to lower stress levels and provides employees with a much better work-life
balance. According to research from the Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH), 55% of workers feel stressed-out by their commute to work, while 82% of telecommuters feel less stressed than those in traditional working environments.
High levels of stress lead to poor performance, strained working relationships and unhappy employees. By offering the relevant training, developing effective policies and providing employees plenty of support, you can help staff members manage any work-related stress and reduce the impact it could have on both their working and social lives.