The theme of this year’s stress awareness month in April is community. Lack of support can lead to isolation and loneliness and people can feel similarly lonely in the workplace if they feel unsupported and communication in the workplace is poor.
Wellbeing can be affected by stress leading to poor mental health and to mental illness if it continues long-term. This can increase absence from the workplace. A lot has changed in the world of work over the last 2 years and employees continue to need support in a changing work environment.

Regain connectivity, certainty and control

Workers who feel more in control of what they are doing at work are generally less stressed. Employees who don’t feel in control can become stressed and concentration can become poor, tempers can flare or they can become withdrawn. Employees make better decisions and can be more effective colleagues when they feel they have a say.
Certainty is also important for the wellbeing of your employees. Ensure they are informed about what is happening in your organisation where you can as well as nipping rumours and gossip in the bud. If you have good two-way communication you are more likely to hear any negative ideas which are circulating.
If your workers work alone or at home ensure there are regular meet-ups to interact and engage with colleagues and to exchange ideas. It is important to create that community, team environment.

 Let’s talk

Employers have a duty of care towards their employees and need to be alert to how employees are coping. One-to-ones can be helpful. Listening to what your workers have to say is key as well as showing your support and having their backs.
Bear in mind that stress is not always work-related. Do what you can to support a worker who has problems outside of work even if it just a listening ear or guiding them towards professional help.

 What works for you?

Talk about yourself if you feel comfortable doing so. What works for you when you feel stressed? Exercise? Watching a football match? Getting out into nature? Encourage your managers to do the same. Discussing mental wellbeing has increased enormously over the last few years and can help alleviate stress.

How to improve stress management in the workplace

Embrace employee friendly policies – could you give more than the statutory holidays for example?
Be considerate. How would you like to be treated at work? Encourage interaction amongst your teams and provide proactive honest and clear communication, even more so during organisational changes. Consider whether you are overloading employees unnecessarily. If a worker isn’t worried then they are not stressed and will be able to focus more on the task at hand.
Ensure employees take their holiday and daily breaks. They may feel that they are being more productive by not taking them but they are likely to be less productive and to make more mistakes.
Ensure managers provide sufficient support and that they are trained in how to manage difficult relationships amongst the workforce.

Get in touch

Contact Liz Jewer on 07803 007591 if you need advice about this topic or HR related services HR Think offer.