Managing stress in the workplace is a hot topic. After all, the biggest asset a successful company has is its people. However, no matter how much the issue is talked about, progress is slow. Research conducted by the HSE (Health and Safety Executive), found that over 480,000 people in the UK stated that work-related stress was making them ill in 2015/16. That amounts to a whopping 40% of all work-related illness.
Here we take a look at effectively managing stress in the workplace, and why it’s important that you do.
SPOT THE SIGNS
Part of managing stress in the workplace is recognising the signs. Feeling anxious, excessively worrying about work, and feeling de-motivated all constitute alarm bells when it comes to stress.
Are you struggling with a project? Is there tension between you and a colleague? Or are you overwhelmed by your workload? Identifying the cause is the first step to overcoming and managing your stress.
If you feel under pressure at work, be sure to speak up. The relationships you share with your co-workers should be ones you can rely on. If you’ve struggled to develop those bonds, try to get more involved. Organise going for lunch, or simply have a chat during a break. It all helps.
If you don’t feel able to talk to your colleagues, talk to friends and family. Keeping your problems to yourself will only make the situation worse.
Feeling that you’re not in control will only exacerbate feelings of stress. Committing to making positive changes will leave you feeling empowered and provide a sense of relief. The NHS has outlined a number of ways in which you can start to take control. For example, communicating with others, taking some time out, and forming healthy habits for both the body and mind.
When you’re feeling the pressure, getting organised so you can manage your time effectively can help reduce feelings of stress and chaos. Give yourself some extra time every morning. Not being against the clock will allow you to mentally prepare for the day ahead.
Don’t check your work emails when you leave the office. Blurring the lines between work and home is not helpful. Make a list of the things you need to do in order of priority, and stick to it. This will make you more productive and also help you in your quest to take back control.
BE A SUPPORTIVE LEADER WHEN MANAGING STRESS IN THE WORKPLACE
If you’re an employer, hopefully your company culture is one of openness, honesty and support. Make sure that you regularly check in with your employees. After all, if you never talk to them, you won’t notice if something’s amiss.
Give your employees clear and achievable goals. Encourage them to socialise and be as flexible as you can in order to help with that all important work-life balance. Encourage mindfulness in the workplace, or create a quiet space where your staff can go when they just need a moment. After all, stress leads to absence, and staff absence can have a negative effect on your bottom line.
When all is said and done, small levels of stress and being challenged at work can be very positive. It leads to increased levels of motivation and job satisfaction. However, excessive pressure is counter-productive and damaging.
Fundamentally, the key to a successful business is taking care of its people, so that people feel able to care for themselves. The less stress there is in the first place, means less time needs to be spent managing it.