Stress Awareness Month has been held every April since 1992. According to the Mental Health Foundation 74% of UK adults have felt so stressed at some point over the last year they felt overwhelmed or unable to cope. So the chances are that you are one of these people.
Work is a common cause of our modern stress epidemic. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found demands, control, support, relationships, role and change as the six main causes. By the time you’ve spotted the signs of stress in individuals or teams in your organisation it may already be too late and your business could already be suffering from:
- High staff turnover
- Increased absenteeism and sickness levels
- Long-hours work culture
- Employees not taking their full holiday entitlement
- Low productivity and efficiency
How can you help to reduce stress in your organisation?
Health and wellbeing should be included in your internal communication strategy and planning, especially during change communications. Building wellbeing into your communication plans highlights to employees that you take their health seriously. Letting your employees know it’s ok not to be ok and giving them opportunities to be able to talk about their issues if they wish can make a big difference.
Think about how to reduce stress when communicating with your teams:
- Do you really need to contact them out of hours?
- Do you have any employees with Specific Learning Differences (SpLD), such as dyslexia, that may benefit from a different method of communication?
- Do your managers need coaching to identify signs of stress?
One example of how to help employees cope with stress is to draw up a wellbeing charter. Wellbeing charters work best if you get your employees involved in what to include in the charter. This two-way communication will help your employees to feel included and part of the organisation. The charter can include anything from banning sending out of hours emails to ensuring employees don’t eat lunch at their work space and take a proper break.
If you would like help with including wellbeing in your strategies and plans please get in touch with me (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Penelope Le Kelly, CIIC
Further information about Stress Awareness Month from Stress Management Society
Stress Management Society have lots of useful information about how you can look after your own stress levels as well as work place stress.
Take the test: Stress Management Society corporate stress test