How to reduce the risk of workplace stress

Many people are understandably reluctant to talk about workplace stress. Some people believe that they can appear to look weak if they say they are struggling – but they’d be wrong.

Stress can affect anyone at any level of seniority in an organisation and massively impact upon employee wellbeing, productivity and efficiency.

If managed incorrectly, too much workplace stress can mount up and lead to difficulties with an individual’s wellbeing.

According to the Health and Safety Executive, in 2016/17 526,000 workers were suffering from work-related stress, depression or anxiety.

Therefore, it’s important to have a system in place to ensure that staff have somewhere to turn to if they do feel overwhelmed.

Use management systems

Managers and employers have a duty of care towards their staff and should ensure workloads are manageable, thus protecting employees from becoming overloaded.

Measures should be put in place to ensure people know what they have to work on and clear deadlines are set for tasks to be completed.

It is important to reassess a staff members workload if they display any signs of stress or begin to feel overwhelmed with their current workload, a manager can help to prioritise workloads if necessary

Employ a stress management service

An Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) is a stress management service that is intended to support employees with personal issues that may be adversely affecting their health, work or behaviour.

Providing such a method of guidance for workers means that if their stress levels are becoming a significant issue, they can turn to a trained counsellor for support. These professionals can help employees work through their problems and teach them on how to manage them.

Attending such counselling sessions can improve mental health in the workplace and help individuals cope with pressure or workloads, making for a better overall wellbeing.

Try critical incident stress management

Critical Incident Stress Management service can also be put in place in the aftermath of a critical or traumatic incident. A professional councillor can help individuals rationalise the thoughts and feelings they may be processing as a response to such an event.

These incidents can be incredibly stressful, so it’s always recommended that guidance is sought to prevent further issues from developing and to show employees that they are valued by their employers.

Introduce wellbeing workshops

Employee wellbeing is important to help create a vibrant and healthy environment in which employees can thrive in. Wellbeing workshops can assist with absence management and employee retention, productivity and importantly, happiness.

Many organisations struggle with how to look after and create a sense of wellbeing at work but by introducing events and activities at the workplace, can make a massive difference in the atmosphere.

Encouraging exercises like yoga, will keep employees physically fit whilst also clearing their minds. You could even suggest that staff take a walking lunch, in order for them to stretch their legs and take a break from screen time.

Team building activities will help bring the staff together for a more pleasant working environment, resulting in them becoming more comfortable asking for help if they need it.

Lead by example

You should actively discourage overtime to ensure that work is being left at work, allowing staff to enjoy a good work-life balance.

Open communication should also be encouraged so that staff feel like they can ask for help when they need it most.  If staff members feel able to talk about their feelings and personal issues confidently, it will help them feel as though they can open up and share any feelings they may be struggling with.