How Do You Promote Stress Awareness?

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November saw International Stress Awareness week taking place with a message of emotional management. This annual campaign started out as a single day in 1998 with aims to promote the prevention of stress. The week is a great idea and the message promoted needs to be shared throughout the year.

There’s an additional reason to be aware of stress this year. The COVID-19 pandemic has had a real impact on mental health with an increase in reports of psychological distress during lockdown periods.

Why is it important to reduce stress?

There is still a stigma around the negative impact of both stress and poor mental health. Workplace cultures can look down on those who are finding it difficult to cope rather than offering support and promoting a culture of wellbeing and the associated benefits.

Employers do have a legal responsibility for the welfare of their employees and there are positive benefits that result from complying with your legal responsibility for employees.

Having a workforce that isn’t stressed is so much better for your business. Healthier employees take fewer sick days and they are more productive. A reduction in stress also results in better relations between staff members resulting in fewer conflicts and improved staff retention.

What can you do to reduce workplace stress?

If you want to make changes in your workplace to reduce stress then you need to start by finding out what the current situation is. If you have more than five employees you are required to make a record of the findings and your actions.

Remember to make the consultation process easy to engage with. Asking employees who already feel stressed to complete a long survey is unlikely to be helpful and may result in incomplete responses. You’ve probably already got information such as absence and injury records which can start to give you an idea of patterns.

stress awareness training

HSE have 6 specific areas for auditing and these can be used for stress. They include:

  • Demands
  • Control
  • Support
  • Relationships
  • Role
  • Change

These are a really good starting point as they allow your business to look at different areas and identify where natural workplace pressures become stressful. If you’re uncertain about how to proceed with a stress audit then getting support from an expert can make all the difference in ensuring that you get the information you need to take action.

Promoting wellbeing in the workplace

Being aware of stressors in the workplace is a great starting point but then what do you do about it?  It’s not like you can remove all deadlines or problems!

Stress is different for everyone

Firstly, be aware that stress factors are different for everyone. This is why it’s so important to promote a culture where stress is acted on before it becomes a problem. You want employees to feel comfortable flagging issues before they get on top of them so that a solution can be put in place.

Get the expertise you need

Next, bear in mind that it can be difficult to be objective about your own organisation. Your audit may turn up issues that you don’t even know how to start tackling.  Working with a health and safety expert can be a way to uncover solutions that are workable. They will be able to draw on their experience of working with different organisations and you will benefit from this.

Run a training session

A training session on stress awareness is a great way to get a conversation going in your organisation. It gets the ball rolling when it comes to encouraging people to share issues and reduce stigma talking about problems and coping strategies. Your employees will be aware that you want to do things differently and improve working conditions for them.

Start small

Dealing with stress is an ongoing process so try to introduce things that are sustainable and achievable. For example, you could encourage a full lunch break away from their desk for all employees. If individuals or departments struggle with this then it might indicate a need for further investigation. On a similar note, lots of early starts or late nights might have a reasonable explanation and not be a cause of stress. Or they could be an indication of an overwhelming workload and a culture where this is becoming normalised.

Help with stress management

We’re here to help you and your organisation deal with stress management. From a one-off training session to an audit, get in touch and we can talk about the best solution to ensure the wellbeing of your employees and your business.

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