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How employers can manage stress at work

Posted by Supportis Legal Experts in HR and Employment Law

In the past year, 74% of people have felt so stressed they have been overwhelmed or unable to cope. The Mental Health Foundation study also worryingly found that, of the previous statistic, 32% of adults had experienced suicidal feelings as a result of stress.

Stress affects everybody at some point; a little stress can be a good thing and help to push us out of our comfort zone. However, excessive amounts of stress can be detrimental to our health and wellbeing. We’ve put together some ideas below that are easy to implement which along with the ability to spot when an employee is struggling can enable an employer to proactively support and effectively manage stress in the workplace.

Consult your employees

Familiarise yourself with the factors that are making your employees stressed. Common stressors usually have practical solutions and can be fixed, for example,

  • Lack of appropriate equipment
  • Adapting your management style to suit employee personality types
  • Improving supervisor feedback and general communication

A recent survey produced by GloboForce found that 89% of HR leaders agree that ongoing peer feedback and check-ins are key for successful outcomes. Being open and honest about how you believe your employees are doing allows good two-way communication skills, builds respect and reduces uncertainty about employees’ jobs and futures.

Give employees opportunities to participate in decisions

  • Getting employee input on work affairs will increase engagement

Employees who feel their voice is heard are 4.6 times more likely to feel empowered to perform at their best and will aid the wider push for equality and inclusion in the workplace. As an aside, data also suggests that companies with greater gender and ethnic diversity consistently outperform the competition.

Avoid unrealistic deadlines

  • Make sure the workload is suitable to your employees’ abilities and resources
  • Clarify your expectations
  • Clearly define employees’ roles, responsibilities, and goals
  • Make sure management actions are fair and consistent with organisational values

In the annual ‘Investors in people job exodus trends survey’, 42% of the 2000 polled say that they are thinking of leaving due to poor management – making it the second most popular reason for a potential move.

Offer rewards and incentives

  • Praise work accomplishments verbally and company-wide
  • Schedule potentially stressful periods followed by periods of fewer tight deadlines

A recent survey produced by Deloitte which involved 16,000 professionals from 4,000 companies in 101 countries found that cash rewards were not the only important recognition. Across status, generations and genders, the most valued type of recognition is a new growth opportunity. The survey also found that big wins aren’t the only thing people want to be recognised for. It’s also important to recognise the effort they put in, their knowledge and expertise and commitment to living the organisation’s core values.

While many employees enjoy and are motivated by challenges, ensuring that these are achievable and reasonable will help ambitious employees achieve more. When setting targets, assess each employee ensuring you get the right balance between motivating employees and overloading them with a workload they will not be able to manage.

Having a proactive policy in place to deal with stress will avoid employees going into ‘burnout’ and impacting negatively on the performance of the business.

If you’d like to find out more about how to implement strategies for minimising stress in your business or for further advice on managing employee stress contact one of our Employment Law Advisers on 0161 603 2156 to arrange your free initial consultation.

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