Managing employee stress for a healthier workplace
Many people know that stress has negative mental effects and might lead to burn-out, anxiety and depression. It is less known that stress takes its a toll on the body as well: high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, menstrual problems, sexual problems, hair loss, the list goes on and on. Bottom line: stress is very, very bad for you.
Of course, stress has a function as well. Microdoses (to use a fashionable term) of stress make you alert and can offer focus. Also, when jumping away from that piano that was about to fall on top of you, you were saved by a very sudden rise in stress and its accompanying chemicals.
Stress hurts you physically and mentally
Stress is a part of life, but for too many people, it turns into unmanageable stress. One in six of the people in the UK to be exact. Much of this can be caused by workplace stress, which is why employers should invest in stress management, for both physically and mentally healthy colleagues, preventing future absenteeism.
Employee stress management is all about getting to know yourself
Dear dr. Jekyll, it's very practical to get to know your mr. Hyde. Stress affects all people in different ways, so what are your red flags? Are you exhausted when you come home? Do you just become unpleasant to be around? Have your energy levels decreased? Or maybe you've noticed it in the way your body reacts - it could be sweaty palms, headaches or stomach cramps.
As an employer, you can manage stress at work by stimulating your team to step back once in a while, maybe even help them write a relapse prevention plan. The Minddistrict module 'Work Stress' will help people to spot the signs of work-related stress and intervene. Our stress diary can make sure these signs drift to the surface at an earlier stage. Once it's time to intervene, the self help module 'Learn to relax' offers a number of relaxation exercises on mobile phone.
Of course, not all solutions can be found on a smartphone. Make sure the afternoon walk becomes part of your company's culture. Being outside and in motion helps reduce stress. Also, offering a healthy lunch can have surprising effects.
Moving to the here and now
Quite often stress at work originates from a perceived lack of influence. And there are two things that are very hard to get a firm grip on: the past (there's not much going to change there) and the future (which is still quite far away). Try to shift focus of your employees to their direct circle of influence, which is now. Not yesterday or a year from now.
It can work to coach your team towards being mindful. They'll be more aware of what's going on around them and in their minds, at this very moment. Additionally, the approach will help them accept setbacks and move on with more purpose. Discover the relevant module here: mindfulness.
Not just stress management, what about stress prevention?
When talking about stress management, you're starting at crisis point, which is a shame. There's a number of interventions that'll help prevent employee stress. For instance, our 'Off to work' module will stimulate empowerment of your employees. Making them responsible for realising change in their work situation.