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How to mark National Stress Awareness Day

Article by Kayleigh Frost, Head of Clinical Support - Health Assured

Recently analysed counselling call data* uncovered the top five workplace stresses faced by employees in 2021. There were some interesting results that we’ll dive into deeper here in more detail.

National Stress Awareness Day is just around the corner. So, we wanted to provide employers with practical advice to tackle this pressing workplace issue.

Workplaces can be fast-paced, target driven and physically demanding. This combination of factors can cause employees to feel overwhelmed, overworked and stressed out. Stress can be detrimental to overall health, cause moods to plummet and turn anxiety levels up a notch.

In the long term, it’s bad for employees, but it’s also bad for employers too. Unfortunately, this leads to sick days, demotivated staff, and poor workplace wellbeing further down the line. And because these effects aren’t always evident to the eye, they get neglected, dismissed, and swept under the rug.

Line manager development
Call data* showed that job role stress was the most prominent concern. This kind of stress arises when employees are unsure of their priorities. They seek clarity about their role and suffer from a lack of objectives and future direction. Support issues also made an appearance on the list, which again falls within the remit of line managers.

Many line managers face high workloads themselves, so it can be a struggle to manage a team on top of this. If employers can provide more guidance and develop managers people skills it can help to improve the communication within teams. Employees will feel more engaged, valued, and open to seeking clarity as a result.

Stress risk assessment
Second on the list of employee stressors was job demands. Employees reported feelings of overwhelm and a struggle to cope with mounting tasks. This kind of work environment is not sustainable over time, employees will get burnout and staff turnover is likely to be high. To protect the mental and physical health of your workers, you should carry out regular stress risk assessments in the workplace. The assessment should review employee workload, staffing numbers in each team and potential hazards that could trigger stress levels to increase.

Invest in your employees
Employees are the backbone of any organisation. They keep it living, breathing, and ticking over. So, it’s essential that you make investments in their mental and physical wellbeing. It could be a small token of appreciation like treats on a Friday or a team meal. It could also be a bigger investment like an employee assistance programme or a revamp of the office facilities. If your staff feel supported and appreciated, they are likely to be more productive, more engaged, and happier at work.

*Health Assured

    As a qualified Mental Health First Aider and Head of Clinical Support, Kayleigh has extensive knowledge of mental health and wellbeing, with a specific focus within the workplace. Kayleigh is responsible for Health Assured’s EAP and occupational health teams, as well as overseeing the clinical management and governance of the wider network of affiliate counsellors and wellbeing practitioners and Health Assured’s trauma and wellbeing provisions.

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