Workplace Stress – The Silent Plague

Workplace stress affects UK business
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According to mental health charity, Mind, 1 in 6 workers experience mental health problems such as stress, anxiety and depression. The workplace is the biggest cause of stress, ranking higher than financial problems and family issues. Furthermore, poor mental health costs the UK economy between £74 billion and £99 billion a year.

Stress affects people in different ways. What can send one person to the edge of despair could be water off a ducks’ back to someone else. Factors such as an overwhelming workload, pressure to perform, organisational change, poorly communicated information (or lack of information altogether) and employees feeling confused as to their roles and responsibilities are all contributory factors.

It’s all too easy to keep calm and carry on. When someone asks us how we are, the default response for many goes something like “yeh, I’m fine, thanks.”  But are we? Are your colleagues ‘fine’? Would you know what signs to look for that a colleague may be struggling with their stress levels? The HSE cites the following signs to look for that someone may be suffering with stress.

In A Team

  • arguments
  • higher staff turnover
  • more reports of stress
  • more sickness absence
  • decreased performance
  • more complaints and grievances

In An Individual

  • take more time off
  • arrive for work later
  • be more twitchy or nervous
  • mood swings
  • being withdrawn
  • loss of motivation, commitment, and confidence
  • increased emotional reactions – being more tearful, sensitive, or aggressive

Workplace wellbeing is now high on the agenda of many businesses; however, so much more could be done to support employees and their wellbeing in the workplace.

As a business case, engaging in employee wellbeing not only shows your team that you’re invested in their health, but it can also lead to lower staff absence through sickness, and lower staff turnover.

What Can Be Done To Help?

There are many ways that an employer can incorporate wellbeing into the workplace. From simple initiatives such as having a selection of complimentary healthy snacks and fruit available, to gym memberships and health insurance.

Several European countries have enforced an out of hours ban on staff emails and telephone calls, ensuring that once the workers leave the workplace their time is their own, rather than being interrupted and under pressure to respond to work-related emails at weekends and when on holiday.

If your premises allow, you may want to create a staff breakout room, where your team can escape to for some quiet time when they feel the need. An outdoor space is even better as it gets the employee out of the building for a short period of time. Fresh air can work wonders.

Another simple thing to implement is to make lunch hours mandatory. Peer pressure can lead to some folk feeling that they don’t have time to take a lunch break, or that colleagues will judge them if they leave the office for an hour. If everyone from the top down is forced to take an hour’s break every day, the pressure won’t exist – and in most cases, the break in the middle of the day will work wonders for morale and productivity in the afternoon.

We’ve Got Your Back!

We’ve worked in many workplaces over the years, across various business sectors, delivering our workplace wellbeing workshops.

We have an extensive menu of wellbeing activities, ranging from gentle meditation techniques and aromatherapy, to fun, noisy, energetic sessions such as Bhangra dancing and Dhol drumming.

Team building days can really help to lift the morale within an organisation too and have always been very well received by our corporate clients.

We also have a calming selection of onsite treatments, including massage, reflexology, manicures, pedicures, and Reiki. We’ll come to your site, set ourselves up in a meeting room and work on putting the spring back in your staffs’ step!

There’s really no excuse for poor workplace wellbeing, other than poor management.

If you’d like to find out more about our wellbeing workshops, teambuilding days or onsite treatments, we’d love to hear from you.

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