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Practical and Measurable Ways to Help Employees Manage Stress

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Stress is something that many, if not all of us, feel on a regular basis and it can have a massive impact on both our work and our personal lives.

Céline Willing and Khalil Rener of Rener Wellbeing, delve into workplace stress, advocating for tailored interventions and proactive support, whilst highlighting measurable strategies for fostering resilience and success.

From tight deadlines to challenging projects, the pressures of professional life can weigh heavy, manifesting in various forms. Yet, stress is not a one-size-fits-all experience; it is entirely unique to the individual, affecting us all in slightly different ways.

While not all stress is inherently negative, its impact on day-to-day functioning, including interactions with clients, colleagues and work shouldn’t be overlooked. When we recognise how commonplace workplace stress is, and its potential ramifications, it becomes vital for organisations to prioritise strategies aimed at supporting their employees’ wellbeing; emphasising the implementation of practical and measurable approaches that address stress at its roots and equip individuals with the tools to manage it effectively.

The first thing to think about, when addressing ways to improve employee stress and anxiety at work, is to analyse what the root cause. Is it an overwhelming workload that leaves people feeling overworked? Is it ineffective communication from managers, leading to confusion, frustration, and a sense of disconnection? Or could it be a lack of effective time management skills, resulting in feelings of being overwhelmed and unable to prioritise tasks effectively?

Factors such as too little or broken sleep, personal challenges, home-related stressors, or financial worries can also significantly contribute to elevated stress levels. By exploring the specific sources of stress within an organisation, whether they stem from factors at work or in the personal lives of employees, leaders can gain valuable insights into where to focus their time, efforts, and resources. Rather than putting a plaster on the issue, this targeted approach enables organisations to address the underlying issues head-on, which can save time, energy, and be more cost effective, while boosting team belief in company culture.

It is also important to ask people how they would like to be supported when it comes to managing their stress and if they are aware of all of the support currently provided. This approach not only alleviates immediate stressors but also places an emphasis on, and enables, sustainable change, cultivating long-term workplace wellbeing and productivity.

Knowing what to do with the results of your analysis is just as important as the analysis itself. Here are some practical measures organisations can take to  manage stress and anxiety in their workforce:

Supporting Senior Leaders and Managers

Provide leadership training focused on empathy, active listening, and effective communication skills to help leaders understand the unique needs of their team members and thus how to support their wellbeing. Wellbeing training for managers will typically focus on why wellbeing is essential for teams; how to support team members; and how to support your own wellbeing as a leader.

Providing Access to E-Learning and On-Demand Resources

Provide access to e-learning platforms and on-demand resources covering topics such as stress management, time management, and work-life balance. Create written toolkits containing practical tips and strategies for managing stress and anxiety, accessible to all regardless of location or schedule.

This kind of support can be particularly effective for non-office-based employees and busy workers, who may not be able to attend in-person or live sessions. It is essential that everyone knows about these tools and how to access them.

Conducting Live Workshops/Training Sessions

Organise live workshops and training sessions targeting root causes of stress. Topics may include improving resilience, promoting physical activity for good mental health, enhancing sleep quality, fostering team building, and managing change effectively.

Performing Workload Audits

Conduct comprehensive workload audits to identify areas of concern. For example, many struggle with a perception that workloads are too high and the number of resources available are too low. A workload audit is an effective way to understand if high workloads are the root problem or if time usage, inefficient task prioritisation, inadequate resource allocation, or a lack of delegation practices and workflow management are the main issues. This will allow you to establish if workload issues stem from workload volume or operational inefficiencies.

By implementing these practical strategies, organisations can create a supportive and inclusive work environment where employees feel valued, empowered, and equipped to manage stress and anxiety effectively. Through targeted interventions, ongoing support, and a commitment to wellbeing, organisations can cultivate a culture of resilience, productivity, and success.

It’s clear that managing stress and anxiety in the workplace requires a multipronged approach, tailored to the unique needs of each organisation and its people. Regardless of size or industry, every organisation should prioritise understanding why and how employees require support to effectively address stressors and foster a culture of wellbeing.

Moreover, implementing these support mechanisms in measurable ways is essential for achieving sustained results and long-term success. By recognising that every organisation is different, leaders can take proactive steps to identify stressors and implement targeted interventions that resonate with their workforce. Whether it’s through supporting senior leaders to understand and respond to the needs of their teams, providing access to tailored resources and training, or conducting workload audits to optimise efficiency, organisations can create a supportive environment where employees can thrive.

Measuring the impact of these interventions is crucial for ensuring their effectiveness and sustainability. By establishing clear metrics and benchmarks, organisations can track progress over time, identify areas for improvement, and make informed decisions about where to allocate resources for maximum impact. By investing in the wellbeing of their workforce, organisations not only enhance employee satisfaction and retention but also drive productivity, innovation, and long-term success.

World Wellbeing Week 2024

June 24 – June 30

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