We spend so much of our time at work. So just like having a good mattress is a great investment in our physical and mental health aswe spend 8 hours every day in bed, if we spend just as many if not more hours at work it’s vital we get the right support, comfort, and environment there too.
It’s Stress Awareness Month and in our previous article we showed how much workplace stress impacts our health and productivity in the workplace.
Work-related stress causes the UK economy £28billion a year, a 2023 survey found.
The 2023 research by insurance firm AXA conducted with 30,000 adults across 16 nations also revealed that Britain was the most impacted of the evaluated countries.
More than 20 percent of UK respondents said they were “struggling”, compared to 17 percent in the United States, 14 percent in Japan and Ireland, and 5 percent in Thailand. A further 25 percent described themselves as “languishing”, meaning that over 50 percent of Britons were in a state of emotional distress.
A study on Managing Workplace Stress clearly states there are areas to focus on to reduce stress at work. Delegating work to colleagues, ensuring leave and time off is taken to spend with loved ones, reducing overtime ranked highest as strategies for stress management.
There are many resources for employers to evaluate and improve stress management at work. Here are 7 ways employers can help reduce stress in the workplace simply and effectively:
Promote open communication – Employers can create a culture of openness and transparency where employees feel comfortable discussing their stress levels and concerns. Encouraging regular check-ins between employees and managers can help identify and address stressors before they become overwhelming.
Offer employee assistance programs (EAPs) – EAPs can provide employees with access to counselling, therapy, and other resources to help manage stress and mental health issues. Employers can also offer mental health first aid training to managers and employees to improve awareness and reduce stigma around mental health concerns.
Provide flexibility – Flexible working arrangements, such as working from home or flexible hours, can help employees manage their work-life balance and reduce stress. Employers can also offer paid time off for mental health and encourage employees to take breaks throughout the workday.
Create a supportive work environment – Employers can create a work environment that promotes employee well-being, such as offering healthy food options, providing ergonomic workstations, and promoting physical activity during breaks. Encouraging team-building activities and social events can also help employees feel supported and connected.
Address workplace stressors – Employers can identify and address workplace stressors, such as heavy workloads or interpersonal conflict, through job redesign or conflict resolution strategies. Providing resources and training on time management, workload prioritization, and stress reduction techniques can also help employees manage their workload and reduce stress.
Redesign Office Space – Interior design of workspaces can have a huge impact on mental well-being, stress levels and therefore productivity.
Train Mental Health First Aiders – Employers could consider training employees to become Mental Health First Aiders.
What is workplace stress?
The World Health Organisation states the causes of stress at work, come in two categories: work content and work context.
Work contents includes job content, workload and work pace, working hours, participation/control in decision-making, processes, environment and methods.
Work context includes career development, status and pay, job security, promotion opportunities, social value, payment schemes, performance evaluation systems, the role within the organisation, interpersonal relationships, culture, communication, leadership, behavioural rule, clear objectives, structures and strategies, and work-life balance as well as support with managing that balance.
So recognising those aspects of stress at work will help employers use suggestions like those listed above to help employees manage their workplace stress.
Reducing stress increases productivity. And who can argue with that?
Read our previous article about the dangers of workplace stress.