Understanding how to manage the signs of stress and the factors that can cause it in the workplace can be a very effective skill when it comes to managing people effectively.
It is stress awareness month and the aim is to raise awareness of the causes and cures when we feel over-stressed. Some stress is normal of course, but feeling overwhelmed or unwell is not and if high stress levels are not managed over time by individuals and employers then other health issues can arise. Occupational stress can cause increased sickness absence, poor staff engagement and motivation and reduced productivity. Unmanaged, this can pose a risk to your business.
As an employer, you have a duty of care towards your employees and there is a great deal of information out there on how to prevent, deal with and intervene if you have employees struggling with this issue. Coaching can help you devise a plan for ongoing communication on the issue amongst your team.
Pressure v stress
Pressure and stress are different things. We all experience challenges in our personal and working lives and pressure can, to some extent, improve performance and motivation. However, if that pressure is prolonged or becomes excessive this can be harmful to health.
You may cope with pressure well but your employees may be different and it is important to understand that not everyone’s the same.
Could management style be the issue?
Coaching may help you if you feel you can’t understand why there is an issue with stress with one of your employees or if you don’t know what to do about it.
Learning how to manage stress in yourself and others can be an invaluable skill in the workplace. You can learn how to increase your personal resilience. You can be helped to visualise which areas of your business need work to help with issues of employees suffering burnout. You could improve the working environment for example, increase empowerment, improve relationships with employees and review roles.
Effect on sickness absence
Prolonged stress at work can lead to poor health including mental health issues, heart disease, back pain and alcohol or substance abuse. Prevention is the key as health issues can lead to high rates of sickness absence of course plus a higher turnover in your business and low productivity.
Managers can benefit from training to help in the early stages of an issue with stress. They can learn to spot the early signs. Understanding the potential triggers for stress in individual team members is also key so knowing them well is important. Good working relationships and communication is key. Managers should also lead by example as regards working habits, review workloads and responsibilities regularly, identify and reduce conflict and discourage a long hours culture.
Balancing work and home
Employees should be encouraged to take their entire holiday entitlement and to think about their work life balance. They are likely to be more productive and motivated if they can get the balance right. Tackling presenteeism is important to encourage a healthy balance between work and home.
Mediation to help resolve issues
If, when you look into the causes of burnout, you discover conflict or you disagree that a workload is too big for example, mediation may help. Agreeing boundaries and actions with your employees can benefit everyone in the long run.
Paying attention to your employees’ wellbeing can only create benefits for your organisation. Contact Liz Jewer on 07803 007591 if you want to explore coaching or mediation.