Considering it is International Stress Awareness week (5th-9th Nov) we wanted to focus on the important topic of stress awareness and management. As some of you may already be aware, mental illness including stress related conditions, anxiety and depression is the leading cause of sickness and absence from work. This month’s Quadra H&S memo aims to make practical suggestions for employers to help their employees manage stress and support improved mental health in today’s often frantic work place. Ensuring that employers can help those who work for them to stay in work, reach their potential and be as happy, healthy and motivated as possible.
- Lead by Example: Arguably this recommendation is one of the most important, because even if best practice support methods are implemented, it is unlikely that they will be properly utilised and embraced if Managers don’t practice what they preach. This means Managers should be taking time to de-stress at the end of a working day and taking time-off to spend with friends and family or doing what they enjoy.
- Implement a Well-Being Strategy with Help from your Workforce: Develop a well-being strategy that is fit for purpose within your organisation and collaborate with your employees to ensure you design a strategy that appeals to them whilst fostering ownership of the initiative. Aviva has a well-being strategy which incorporates health checks, nutritional advice, a well-being app, mental health support and income protection provided free to all staff. They have appointed a senior executive as mental health champion and heavily promoted to employees the benefits of opening and seeking support. Line Managers are being provided with training to help facilitate this.
- Provide a Break-Out Room in the Office: Between emails landing relentlessly into your inbox, engaging in a conference call, managing a Skype call and endless meetings the workplace can quickly becoming an overwhelming environment. Help your employees to disconnect and re-charge by providing a comfortable chill-out space they can escape to.
- Encourage your Team to Move Around: To be productive and focussed it is important to take frequent short breaks during the day so why not encourage your team to use these opportunities to get up from their seat walk, stretch and rest their eyes. It is also helpful to encourage your employees to engage in physical activity like walking meetings or a gym class at lunch to ensure greater focus and clarity of thought.
- Organise Fun Social Events: For small organisations, this doesn’t mean you have to organise events at a massive expense. Why not organise a staff quiz, a charity event, put together a book club or invite a speaker in to talk about a topic your staff are interested in. These are all great, cost-effective ways of helping your employees make valuable social connections and build friendships, reducing stress.
We hope that some of our suggestions have been helpful, and if you would like some more guidance on helping to manage workplace stress why not read ‘Thriving at Work: a review of mental health and employers’ written by Lord Dennis Stevenson and Paul Farmer and commissioned by Prime Minister Theresa May in January 2017 for some insightful recommendations.
If you have any suggestions to help manage stress in the workplace we would love to hear from you, so please get in touch if you would like to share any ideas or musings.
028 9042 3222 / 01 832 1493