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Addressing Stress

We recently marked World Mental Health Day and there were so many positives. Now I want to mark National Stress Awareness Day and in the work place and look at stress and what I think could be done to change things.

Stress is good for you but too much stress on a regular basis can have serious effects on our health. But it can have many implications in our life that's why it is important to be mindful of stress and what it is doing to your body. 

In the workplace stress seems to be a real problem with many saying that they are planning to look for a new job and reporting sleeping, relationship problems. I think we ignore the many surveys that suggest we are not doing enough to combat stress.

I want to see more done with workloads and how they are managing work. I understand there are targets and KPI's but to hear more and more is disappointing. Disappointing that employees are saying that they work during lunchtime at their desk. There has been so much research and studies that suggest that getting out and having a walk to help stress and wellbeing.

Wellbeing should be the number one priority for all companies because happy staff make for productive companies, but it doesn’t seem like they are all buying into it.  I recently attended a mental health summit and one of the things that struck me was the speaker said that companies need do more than putting a bowl of fruit or make an effort every time there is mental health day, week etc.

This is too important to trivialise so how about looking at every department in your office and identify stress pockets and find out what is happening in the workplace and why your employees are signing off sick and why the absence is so high. Don’t refer an employee to HR because he or she has triggered stage two or whatever is called. Sit down with them and find out why they are feeling like do.

I get very frustrated when I read about employees who have been disciplined or put on performance management. This not the way to treat people and how to the best out of them so when are some employers going to understand this see that ticking boxes etc does not work.  It doesn’t work because all it results in is a stressed-out worker who feels undervalued and will inevitably want to eventually leave.

As I said before I don’t want to blame all employers because there a lot of companies who are investing a great deal into wellbeing and not just putting a bowl of fruit in the kitchen once every month. I would suggest setting up a forum at work and discussing how to help wellbeing and have an open and frank conversation about workloads, office layout, work life balance and ultimately better mental health.

Let’s look at work load first there are only so many hours in the day, humans are not robots and if you keep piling on more work then something has to give. There will be some effect on the individual whether it be physical, mental, home, relationship sleep etc. Consider dividing the work up or bringing in temporary staff or look at your processes why is workload not manageable.

Is the office layout helping staff, is the problem not enough light or is the way the desks are set out. Why not set up a group to investigate if this is influencing wellbeing and contributing to the stress in the office. 

Why in this day and age with the possibility of working from anywhere do so many people have to go into the office anyway. Surely, its madness to have trains so packed full of commuters when they could work at home. It seems to me that we are not thinking of work life balance and this is contributing to the stress in our modern-day lives.

The owner of a London market research company claims her turnover has gone up by more than half since introducing a four-day week. While the number of sick days among the 20 staff has dropped by 75 per cent. In a report, the Social Market Foundation said that a four-day week could become common as we make technology advances. 

I have to admit we have to look at different ways of working so that staff are supported, and families are not to suffer.

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