Sinking or Swimming? : Helping Employees Deal with Stress at Work
A recent CIPD study found that about a third of employees say they are under excessive pressure at work either every day or once or twice week. As the employer or the employee it is important that stress is handled fast. The repercussions of ongoing stress can be vast and yet, with the majority of our time spent at work it seems unnecessary that work should be anything but an enjoyable experience. So if stress is ruling your workplace, how can you help employees take back the reigns?
1) Better the work / life balance
For many people, whether suffering from stress or not, work can be an unwelcome addition to the time they spend at home. This can be particularly true of management who find a heavy work load denies them the opportunity to switch off. There should be a distinct difference between work ending and the evening starting, but for many the line gets blurred. Collectively, staff must all make an effort to reduce the impact of their work on others outside of work hours. The best way to reduce the impact of a work chain reaction is to advise all employees to set an automatic email response outside of work hours when they are no longer looking to receive and respond to emails. This way they can manage the expectations of those who are still working out of hours and can ensure colleagues are aware of when they can expect to receive a response.
Employees often struggle to voice their struggle with unmanageable workload at the risk of appearing to be refusing work or incapable of their job role. This can be combatted with two easy-to-implement solutions. Initially, ensure an open-communication policy between staff and managers is made clear and accessible. It should be commonly known that if an employee is struggling with their workload they can speak to their manager about it. Exaggerate this point to all new starters, ensure all managers are communicating this to staff and measure the success of managed work load with staff at all of their performance reviews.
3) Take a break
Secondly, this ties in perfectly with CSR and wellbeing policies, encourage all staff to regularly leave their desks and take a break from their computers. It is important that everyone enjoys a moment of fresh air, gets regular exercise and allows their mind to rest. This in turn helps to manage workload. Taking a break increases productivity and concentration but also, time away from the desk means enforcing an availability limit upon receiving more work. If employees feel chained to their desks they are likely also taking on more work than they can handle. Encourage staff to leave the office at all designated breaks to get a much needed rest, limit the time in which they can be approached with more work, and help them to increase their own productivity.
This is the second blog in our health and wellbeing series, to read the first blog on combatting the taboo of mental health, click here.
Posted on: Thursday 18th Aug 2016