November 2nd marks National Stress Awareness Day, dedicated to bringing attention to the effects and how it can affect our physical and mental wellbeing. As employers, it is important to ensure that your employees have the necessary resources and support to deal with stress and mental health in the workplace.
In this article, we discuss the importance of stress awareness and provide tips on creating a supportive and understanding environment that actively reduces the stigma of stress in the workplace, and helps your employees manage their mental health and wellbeing year-round.
How stress affects our health
Stress can have a significant impact on our physical and mental health if it’s not managed effectively. It can lead to various health problems, including heart disease, high blood pressure, depression, anxiety, and insomnia. It can also affect our immune system, making us more susceptible to illness.
Given the potentially harmful effects of stress, it’s important to do what we can to have coping strategies in place to reduce our stress levels regularly, actively understand and manage our work-related stress, and work to reduce the stigma around stress in the workplace.
Here are some tips on how you can support your employees and increase Stress Awareness in the workplace
Encourage staff to have good coping strategies in place
When we’re stressed, the physiological stress response “Fight, Flight or Freeze” kicks in, releasing the hormone cortisol, which can over periods of time negatively affect our health. One way to help flush this “stress” out of the body is to encourage your employees to do things which take them to the opposing state of “rest and digest”. This will be personal to each and everyone but by taking breaks throughout the day, even if it’s just for a few minutes, people can use this time to walk around the block, talk to a friend or colleague, meditate, or just take a few deep breaths.
Encourage open communication
It’s important to create an open and supportive environment where your employees feel comfortable communicating with you about their stress levels and feelings. Encourage them to schedule regular check-ins with management or someone who is trained in Mental Health in the workplace.
Ensure your employees have access to the resources they need to manage their stress and mental health. This could include things like Mindset Training, mental health days, workplace flexibility, and access to mental health professionals. Not only can this provide support for employees, but it also helps to create a supportive and open workplace culture.
Foster a culture of employee well-being
Building a culture centred on employee wellbeing is one of the most important steps you can take to create a strong employer brand. When employees feel cared for, respected, and appreciated, they are more likely to be loyal to your company and motivated to give their best.
Creating a culture of wellness can involve a variety of activities and policies, including offering flexible working arrangements and staggered return to work after mental health leave, providing mental health resources, and promoting a culture of work-life balance.
By actively promoting wellness in the workplace, you can create a work environment that employees are proud to be a part of.
What can HR teams and managers do to help employees manage their workloads?
Recognise the signs and symptoms of mental health issues
Investing in Mental Health First Aiders is an excellent way to support your employees’ mental health and wellbeing. Mental Health First Aiders are trained to recognise the signs and symptoms of mental health issues in those around them and provide appropriate care and guidance.
They can provide early intervention in a crisis, as well as offer advice on mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, and stress. Having Mental Health First Aiders in the workplace can help create a culture of openness and acceptance when it comes to discussing mental health issues.
Furthermore, having trained Mental Health First Aiders can help reduce absenteeism and increase productivity by ensuring that employees are supported in times of need.
Regularly evaluate workload
As a manager, it’s important to stay in touch with your team and keep track of their workloads. When to-do lists start to get long, it can be hard for team members to prioritise and manage their time efficiently. That’s where managers come in. It’s the manager’s responsibility to check in regularly with their team, evaluate the workload and help them prioritise tasks to help reduce work-related stress.
This can involve helping team members set realistic timelines for completing projects, breaking down complex tasks into smaller goals, or even redistributing tasks so that everyone can have more manageable workloads. Regular check-ins with your team will also help ensure that everyone feels supported and motivated. By taking an active role in managing your team’s workloads, you’ll be helping them achieve better results and reach their fullest potential.
Stress is an unavoidable part of life, but it doesn’t have to be a problem.
With proper management and preventative measures, organisations can help their employees stay healthy and productive and improve stress awareness in the workplace. By taking steps to reduce the amount of stress employees experience in the workplace, organisations can create a healthier and more productive work environment.
How POINT3 Wellbeing can help your employees
If you feel this is an area that you need support with as a business, at POINT3 Wellbeing our experienced trainers can help deliver solutions bespoke to your needs.
We work directly with people and businesses to embed mental health and wellbeing into the workplace through employee wellbeing training experiences that motivate, educate, and energise. View our range of services here!