Did you know that in 2019, work-related stress was found to cause 54% of long-term absences? (CIPD)
Work-related stress is one of the biggest issues in our society today. Pressure is increasing through employees’ workloads and managers need training to understand how to manage this epidemic.
Those companies who are thriving are implementing internal wellbeing schemes to make sure their employees are looked after. You don’t want to miss the boat and potentially affect your companies’ success.
So, with the help of employment experience experts Growth Partners, we’ve pulled together 5 methods you can try to better manage employee stress in your business.
Good working environment
It has been found that on average, 40% of UK employees spend a maximum of 15 minutes outside during the workday (excluding their commute to work), and only 22% spend a maximum of 30 minutes outside. Alarmingly, this is less time than prisoners, who have a designated hour per day to spend in the open air according to UN guidelines.
Considering that we spend most of our time at our desks, businesses need to ensure that the conditions we are working in are high on their priority list. Those offices with an abundance of natural light will on average have a 40% higher productivity rate and therefore sales will increase too. So, a good environment doesn’t just benefit the employee, but the employer too.
As well as having natural light and an open space to work in, comes the equipment that you use. Nothing is more frustrating than a slow computer, or a chair that doesn’t really fit your height. Yes, companies need to think about cutting costs, but make sure you’re not doing it at the expensive of your employee’s level of comfort.
Take the burden off your employees
One of the best ways to alleviate stress is by talking about it. This could be more formally, through your GP, or just by having a catch-up with a colleague at work. Regardless, by ensuring that your employees feel that they can talk to people at work will drastically improve their mentality in a positive way.
By identifying those who are struggling more can make their lives easier. If you can see that one colleague has too much on, help them by taking some of their work to lighten the burden. Little acts of kindness will go a long way, making them a cup of tea when they seem stressed, or just allowing them to talk through their worries will bring you closer as a team. The closer you are, the better you will work together, and therefore workloads will be shared out.
Invest in your management team
Unfortunately, employers are still less comfortable dealing with someone who has mental health problems than those who have a physical disability. But they need to realise what causes stress at work in order to help deal with it. The top causes are:
- Demands made on the employee
- Level of control employees have over their work
- Support staff receive from their managers
- Clarity of an employee’s role
- Nature of relationships at work
Managers need to be trained not only to deal with these issues, but to understand them. Without understanding them, they are less likely to empathise with the employees and therefore are less likely to support them.
If managers are seen to be embracing an open-door policy and encouraging employees to talk, those at a lower level will follow. They will become more relatable and therefore internal processes will run a lot smoother and productivity levels will increase.
Make sure your employees have a lunch break
42% of UK workers admitted to not taking their full hour lunch break, with 60% saying they only took half an hour. This coupled with the fact that one in four state that they eat lunch at their desk, with the reason of ‘I’ve got too much work on’ just shows how much of an issue this is.
Without a lunch break, and getting an adequate amount of nourishment, you can experience some negative effects on your health. These can range from feeling week, sluggish or a lack of concentration to a reduced attention span and the ability to process new information.
With the right food, your productivity levels can increase by 20%.
Employers should take this as an opportunity to increase sales. If you ensure that your employees have an hour, and that there is an option for them to be healthier, it will benefit you in the long run. One way of ensuring this is through giving out free lunches. It means that you are giving your employees a healthy option; whilst allowing them to socialise and de-stress.
Communicate Clearly and Often
As an employee, it is frustrating when you don’t know what’s going on. Having clarity over your role, the businesses expectations, their objectives and values makes a much nicer working environment. You are not second-guessing people’s motives and you know what you need to do to get the job done. Those people who are in the loop will understand how they contribute to the bigger picture; they will know their purpose.
One way of ensuring this is instilled in your company from the get-go is to encourage openness and honesty from your senior managers. If employees can see it being done from the top, they will be more likely to follow. Having a central place where everything is kept will also help, rather than having to ask various team members. If you can just go straight to the source yourself, it means cutting out the middleman and making everything a bit more accessible.
Are there tools out there that can help you reduce stress in the workplace?
Yes! Tools such as Growth Partner’s GrowthPro are ideal for businesses that want to not only reduce stress amongst the workforce, but improve overall employee engagement. By easing the burden on HR support, admin, payroll and pensions, businesses are gifted more time to focus on the important side of business management – the employees