April marks Stress Awareness month, a month designed to encourage employers to identify how they can keep their employees healthy and happy. Contributor Stephen Duignan, Vice President of International Marketing – LogMeIn.
Over the course of the month, organisations around the world will join forces with the health care industry to increase public awareness about both the causes and cures for our modern stress epidemic.
Stress Awareness month is a timely cause for today’s workforce where the concept of nine to five job is swiftly becoming obsolete. In fact, many organisations are now demanding employees to stay longer hours to ensure they are hitting targets.
The knock-on effect this has on employees’ mental, physical and emotional wellbeing can significantly impact business success and society as a whole – making it critical that employers and employees alike take time to understand the keys to living a well-balanced work life, free from the detrimental effects of stress.
Modern pressures for a modern workforce
There is an increasing amount of pressure for deadlines to be met and according to a recent survey, 15.4 million working days are lost due to work-related depression or anxiety. This highlights the urgency for organisations to adopt the right strategies to ensure that employees stay healthy and motivated.
In particular, one of the greatest causes of work-related stress is excessive workload. This can include tight deadlines, extreme amounts of work or too much pressure or responsibility to complete tasks.
Ultimately, what organisations need to acknowledge is the need to invest in new initiative that can alleviate the pressure being felt by workforces across the country.
Working remotely to alleviate stress
One of the key areas employers must address in helping employees battle stress is by offering them the flexibility to work remotely.
Even if you’re in a relaxed office that provides ample space to get work done, being confined to an office can be a stressful experience. Commuting for long periods of time to and from work can only add further to this and in today’s hyper-connected world, employees expect to be able to work when and where they want.
An estimated 4 million people already work remotely in the UK, highlighting the end of traditional and often rigid way of working. This figure is predicted to grow even further to half the UK workforce in 2020.
There are a variety of perks to working from home, but mental health is amongst the most important. Organisations need to facilitate this by introducing a flexible working environment that is as productive as it is collaborative.
Turning to technology
Despite over a third of workers finding it more beneficial to work from home, a recent survey suggests that there is an ongoing perception from employers that employees do less work at home. This makes employees feel inclined to send more emails to bosses than they would usually do while in the office, just to prove a point.
This highlights a stand-out issue many businesses face in fully embracing flexible working – trust.
Thankfully, with mobile and advanced collaboration technologies becoming more prominent, employees working remotely will not have to compromise on communication and collaboration with their fellow employees.
From facilitating remote meetings to heightening collaboration, technologies such as collaboration platforms now enable employees to work from anywhere. What’s more, the adoption of cloud-based applications and password managers that connect both apps and devices have the ability of alleviating work load and can increase workforce productivity.