National Stress Awareness Month takes place throughout April each year. It’s estimated that work-related stress, depression and anxiety accounts for more than 12.5 million working days being lost.
Stress can take many forms, but the most common indicators of stress in the workplace are:
- Increased irritability
- Feeling tearful
- Increased reliance on alcohol, smoking, caffeine or drug use
- Inability to concentrate or make simple decisions
- Aggressive or anger outbursts
- Dizziness or palpitations
- Panic attacks and nausea
- Memory lapses and tiredness
6 Steps to Managing Stress in the Workplace
Step 1: Support Your Employees
The first step to reducing stress in the workplace is supporting your employees. Whether that be with team debriefs after particularly stressful periods, signposting to relevant support or just encouraging regular breaks – offering employees to take a little time each day to step away from their work.
Step 2: Encourage Exercise
Encourage your employees to partake in a little exercise each day, such as a short walk during their lunch break or taking the stairs as opposed to the lift. Exercise releases endorphins, triggering a positive feeling in the brain that can help combat stress.
Step 3: Encourage Socialising
A good support network in and out of work is crucial to your employees’ wellbeing. Try incorporating team building days into your work calendar or after work activates such as celebrating a fellow employees success.
Step 4: Encourage Mindfulness
Mindfulness is an activity which means paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgementally. This increases awareness, clarity and acceptance of our present-moment reality. In simple terms this means encouraging your employees to take their breaks and spending a few moments collecting their thoughts and relaxing their mind.
Step 5: Offer a Flexible Working Environment
Many employees in the workforce are a part of the “sandwich generation”, whereby they are supporting both young children and elderly relatives. Flexible working can help ease some of the stresses and help promote a healthy work-life balance.
Step 6: Consider an Employee Assistance Programme
It is a proven fact that long and short term absenteeism is reduced by providing an Employee Assistance Programme. By providing support to your employees through the programme you are demonstrating a duty of care – emphasising your commitment to their health and well-being.
The MIA’s Business Support Helpline partner, Croner, offer an Employee Assistance Programme service aimed at helping employers support their employees.
The service provides access to highly qualified counsellors, 365 days a year who can help support your employees with issues that may be effecting their work performance such as stress and work-life balance.
MIA members benefit from FREE advice from Croner. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01403 800500 for the exclusive Business Support Helpline scheme number.