Workplace stress has long been associated with various mental and physical problems through extended research. These include, mental ill-health, the risk of developing depression and anxiety, a weakened immune system, stomach aches, high blood pressure and headaches. In addition, stress in the workplace can also raise problems with concentration and teamwork, leading to productivity issues. Therefore, it’s crucial that employers make, looking at cost-effective ways to reduce workplace stress, a priority.
How much does workplace stress cost UK businesses?
In fact, studies estimate that work-related stress and mental illness costs UK businesses an estimated £26 billion annually. What’s more, the number one source of physical and mental stress for British workers has been identified to be the workplace. With workplace stress rapidly rising due to the pandemic, financial uncertainty and lack of job security, and with employees facing increasingly stressful lives, workers need more support from the companies they work in.
While many have tried to put together long lists of stress management techniques and reduction tactics, recent studies prove that there is no one-size-fits-all approach. However, employee-environment fit should be the main focus when looking for ways to reduce workplace stress. If that’s a good match, then workers are likely to be relaxed, whereas a poor fit would only likely increase tensions.
Here are a few broad ideas that employers can use for stress management in the workplace, but it’s important that employers ensure to tailor them to their workforce.
To reduce workplace stress, lead by example
One of the major workplace stress causes is the way managers manage their staff. As a leader it is critical you develop the necessary skills to keep your own emotions on track and not let negativity, anger or stress rub off on your team. Therefore, you need to make sure you give yourself enough time to de-stress at the end of the working day. Likewise, taking regular breaks and booking some time off will not only help you feel refreshed and rested, but it will also show your employees that it’s okay to take some time off too.
Put appropriate wellness schemes in place to reduce workplace stress
Exercise and a healthy lifestyle set both great management techniques when it comes to reducing workplace stress. Employee wellness schemes, such as offering an employee discount at local gyms or simply organising a yoga class club are effective ways to help employees de-stress and will not be too expensive either. You could also consider offering a free stress management course. This would also help to train and improve your managers’ stress management skills.
Offer onsite or distance counselling
Many employers have started providing counseling as a way for employees to help deal with their problems and added stress. Studies support that many workers feel they need help in learning how to handle the stress related to their jobs. Such stress management techniques, in groups or individually, can help your workforce learn how to deal with high stress levels. You could also, consider offering a stress management course
Make space for a “chill out” area in the office
Sometimes people need 15 minutes to relax, de-stress and re-group. Providing a quiet place at work, where employees can spend some time on their own can dramatically help reduce workplace stress and burnout. It would be even better, if you can provide comfortable seating and paint the walls a neutral colour, since a pleasant environment is good for boosting happiness.
Offer your employees the resources necessary
Easy tasks could turn stressful when resources aren’t adequate. If your employees don’t have what they need to do their jobs to the best of their ability, their levels of stress will keep increasing. So, ensure you give them what they need in terms of any necessary supplies and work-related resources to accomplish what you expect them to. If budgeting is an issue, there is always the option to meet them in the middle and explain to them the solutions you’re able to offer.
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