Managing Stress in the Workplace: Advice from employment law specialists
Taking place throughout April, National Stress Awareness Month is an annual event that not only promotes awareness of the impacts of stress but also the ways of managing the negative side effects. With working from home now commonplace due to the events of the Coronavirus pandemic, the theme of this year’s National Stress Awareness Month is ‘community’ – placing a focus on how a lack of support can cause loneliness and isolation and in turn, having a detrimental impact on mental health.
Here, we’re going to take a look at National Stress Awareness Month, the impact of stress in the workplace and how you, as an employer, can find help in mitigating the factors of stress.
National Stress Awareness Month – What defines ‘stress’?
In their 2021 statistics report relating to the subject , the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) define work-related stress as ‘a harmful reaction that people have to undue pressures and demands placed on them at work’. Their research has highlighted the negative impacts stress inflicts on the individual experiencing stress, as well as the business they work for.
The HSE’s Labour Force Survey revealed that during 2019/20, some 828,000 workers in the UK suffered from work-related stress and subsequently, 17.9 million working days were lost – emphasising the magnitude of the issue.
As employment law specialists, the team here at Rowberrys value the mental health and wellbeing of employees highly, which is why we are constantly promoting the power of positive workplace culture. We believe that National Stress Awareness month is vital because it highlights that ‘life is precious’ – bad stress can only work to negatively impact quality of life, and that stress affects health, with symptoms ranging in severity.
So, what are the causes of workplace stress and what can be done to manage them?
What are the factors that may lead to stress in the workplace?
The different types of stressors in the workplace can cause an employee’s mood to change. One type is any demand that poses a threat, such as deadlines and projects; another could be circumstance – some people might find themselves more susceptible than others when they have heavy workloads at home combined with difficult relationships there too. Another could be internal provocations – such as racing thoughts due to anxiety about something coming up soon (i.e. a big meeting, etc). While stress may always occur in the workplace, ultimately, it’s having the ability to manage it that is key to creating a better work environment.
Tips on managing workplace stress.
Stress management is a crucial skill to have in the workplace. While there can be individual differences between each person, here are some general tips on managing stress for your teams:
• Communicate well with your employees – people who may have previously experienced mental ill health may find it beneficial to discuss their condition and coping strategies, such as triggers, symptoms and early warning signs. Other factors could include how mental ill health may impact their performance and what support they need from management.
• Positivity – not everyone will be an optimist but promoting a positive atmosphere can help and inspire the workforce. Try and bring a level of positivity and encouragement to your team to make even the most pessimistic feel motivated – practising gratitude once a week can help with this.
• Additional training – with training on stress in the workplace, management will find themselves in a better position to support their teams during difficult periods. Many forward-thinking firms are even assigning a ‘mental health first aider’ to spot the signs of stress and to help mitigate them accordingly.
• Break up tasks – while a large task may seem daunting when presented to someone, once it’s broken down into smaller, more manageable chunks, employees might feel more at ease. Even something as simple as making a checklist is a great way to manage stress by acknowledging when a task has been completed.
If you have any further questions on how best to manage stress in the workplace, our Employment Law team at Rowberrys are here to help you. If you require advice on mental health and wellbeing in the workplace or are interested in our Employment Law services, get in touch with us today to see how we can help.
Contact us to learn more about stress management and employment law
No matter the issues that your business may present you, our dedicated team are always on hand to offer specialist employment law advice. To get in contact directly with our employment solicitors, please do not hesitate to get in touch by calling 01344 959166.