Managing stress in the workplace is an area of increasing concern for employers, with an upward trend in reported cases in recent years. The latest Health and Safety Executive (HSE) report states that 828,000 workers suffered from work-related stress, depression or anxiety in 2019/20 almost doubling since 2014/15 and resulting in 17.9 million working days lost.
The significant increase in the last year demonstrates the need to tackle this rising phenomenon with some urgency. Evidence suggests that this increase is not Covid-19 related so it would be fair to anticipate an even sharper increase in this year’s figures.
The HSE defines stress as ‘the adverse reaction people have to excessive pressures or other types of demand placed on them’. Stress Awareness month is the perfect opportunity for us to encourage employers and employees alike to become aware of what stress is, its causes, and how it can affect us so we can take steps to manage this adverse reaction and restore a sense of calm and balance.
As an employer there are many ways to tackle work-related stress. Firstly, by identifying the risks that contribute to stress we can put systems in place that minimise the likelihood of stress occurring. Contributing factors may include the work environment or equipment not being suitable for the job, unsuitable workload or time pressures, inflexible or anti-social work hours, lack of support and poor communication and so on. Simple changes to these recognised areas may help by targeting stress at its source.
Of course, we cannot eliminate all risk of stressful situations occurring and some stress may not be work-related at all. So, what else can we do to help combat stress in the workplace?
Introduce Stress Management Interventions
Stress management interventions are an effective way to provide employees with some of the tools and resources they need to support them in their job. Bolstering personal resources such as resilience and stress coping mechanisms can lead to a more positive and stress-free working experience.
Here at on Site Wellbeing Co, we believe in a holistic approach to stress management and promote approaches such as mindfulness, resilience training and exercise along-side effective but less traditional approaches such as laughter and creativity. Our latest workshop offering focusses on intentional breathing to de-stress.
Breathing exercises are frequently practised as part of yoga and mindfulness programmes and well recognised for the stress relieving benefits they bring. By practising intentional breathing, you can learn how to relieve stress in the moment and retrain your nervous system for resilience over the long term.
We love this technique as it can bring immediate, and long-term relief to anyone suffering from stress and is super easy to integrate into daily life. By choosing interventions that are evidence-based and educational, yet easy for employees to use in everyday life, your stress management programme will have a greater chance of success resulting in happier and more productive employees.