Stress In The Workplace: Promoting A Healthy Work Environment
What a year 2020 was. With the Covid-19 epidemic and the consequent effect on the economy, it has meant that a lot of people’s lives have been flipped upside down: Some workers were told to leave their jobs and be on furlough, others were told they had to uproot their work desks and relocate at home, and unfortunately, some lost their jobs altogether. Even though 2021 is increasingly hopeful with the vaccinations sweeping the nation and businesses given the green light to slowly begin opening their doors, it is still going to be a stressful time for both employers and employees alike.
As people move back into the workplace, there will be both relief and anxiety. How will businesses cater for the new rules set by the government and how will employees feel about getting back into the groove of work-life? There are, however, ways in which businesses can relieve the stress of returning to work, and ease the adjustment period that will come with the changes in workplaces.
Work Smarter: Have some 'me time'
Here in the UK, we work the longest hours in Europe, meaning we often don't spend enough time doing things we really enjoy. We all need to take some time for socialising, relaxation, exercise and most importantly, TALKING. A good support network of colleagues, friends and family can ease your work troubles and help you see things in a different way.
Within the work environment, there are actions that can be undertaken to ease the stresses of work:
The past stigmas around mental health were that if sufferers spoke out about it, they were seen as being weak or attention-seeking. However, now, more than ever, people are encouraged to TALK and it is seen as empowering and a helpful coping mechanism. The most important thing to do when suffering from mental health is to talk. Talk to a professional, talk to a friend, a work colleague, or a family member about what you are going through and what is concerning you.
Exercise won't make your stress disappear, but it will reduce some of the emotional intensity that you're feeling, clearing your thoughts and letting you deal with your problems more calmly. Just a quick walk around the block can be a good de-stressor- it is a powerful tool in refreshing the mind.
Working Smarter, Not Harder:
If you never seem to have enough time, better time management may help you regain control of your days. Working smarter means prioritising your work and concentrating on the tasks you know will take longer to accomplish. Make a list and leave the least important tasks till last. Lastly, most importantly, take a lunch break!
Everyone knows that in order to keep our minds and bodies healthy, nutrition and what we eat is the leading factor in aiding this, and this can not only affect us physically but also mentally. So, try and limit intake of processed and sugary foods, and increase the intake of foods from the healthier variety, such as proteins and fruits. An easy way to encourage this is to make a packed lunch- not only will you be promoting a healthier diet, but also saving money. It is a win win!
Enjoyment is a stress reliever. Initiatives are a symbol of enjoyment that entice employees to work hard and be rewarded for it. They are frequently used throughout companies to thank their employees for their continued work and help in the successes of the business.
Initiatives can range from weekly clubs such as Lunch Clubs, Fizz Fridays, work challenges, charity missions and holidays abroad. It is a good way of relieving any stresses of the week and allows for a refresh, where work can be put to the back of their minds for an hour or two.
Here at Concept Resourcing, we do Monthly Lunch Clubs to celebrate employee’s achievement over the month, and do half-yearly incentive trips abroad for top billers to not only let off some steam, but be rewarded for their hard work throughout the year. We also do charity work that all staff can get involved with, such as our most recent challenge of reaching 5000km throughout march by cycling, running or walking, in aid of raising money for the YoungMinds charity.
If the organisation you work for doesn’t do anything, then why not speak to your HR or events representative about introducing some of these activities to enhance your work life and raise money for local charities?
Mental health prevention
Mental health affects 1 in 4 people in England; with every 1 in 6 reporting experiencing a common mental health problem (like anxiety and depression) in any given week, according to Mind, and with the added pressures of the pandemic and lockdowns, there have been discussions on amping up help offered to everyone, be it within the education system and the working environment.
Mental health prevention tools are crucial in aiding support within the working sphere, as it is where most of us spend our days and where most feel the pressures and stresses of life. Companies need to make sure they offer help to their employees, either internally or externally.
Within businesses, there should be a safe space for people to feel they can go and talk to someone. Important members of the team such as Managers and leaders, along with members of HR, are encouraged to be the main point of contact for talking and discussions surrounding feelings. This is to help when people feel troubled, and to try and prevent problems from getting worse.
The government have recently pledged to create increase the amount of support offered for mental health, and one advancement is the ‘Access to Work Scheme.’ This scheme is provided by the government for people who are not receiving adequate aid from their employers, and if the help they need is not being covered. So check the GOV website if feel you could benefit from government schemes.
If you feel you have been affected by anything in this blog post, then we encourage you to seek help: This could be by talking to someone close to you or seeking more professional support from a doctor or psychotherapist. There are plenty of options out there designed to help you, so we encourage you to take advantage of them.
If you would like more information on how to ease workplace stresses head to our HR Webinar blog post "How critical are people in adapting change?" for more ideas and tips from Three HR leaders.