Stress Awareness Month 2020: How to Prevent Stress in the Workplace

April is Stress Awareness Month, which means that more of us will be discussing stress and its impact across life, relationships and the workplace.

Stress is a physical and mental state that is often cited as a necessary part of life. In certain situations, stress is a motivator, helping us stay on track to achieve goals and move ahead. However, persistent, excessive stress can have a negative impact on both our physical and mental health.

What are the negative effects of stress?

When humans are under stress, our bodies release a cocktail of hormones, such as adrenaline and cortisol. This activates a “fight or flight” response, where our bodies will be in a heightened state of awareness. This causes our hearts to beat faster, our breaths to quicken, our muscles to tighten, and also causes a rise in blood pressure.

Too much of this, and you’ll start to feel unpleasant. Because your mind and body are focused so hard on the stressful situation, you may find it difficult to concentrate on work. You may become more irritable or find sleeping difficult. You might also find that you experience physical symptoms, like body aches, headaches or experience illness more frequently.

How Can Workplace Stress Be Prevented?

The workplace is crucial to stress management and awareness, as work is often a cause of preventable or exacerbated stress. According to the Labour Force Survey (2019), 12.8 million working days were lost due to work-related stress, depression or anxiety. Therefore, it’s extremely important for organisations to have a plan in place.

Improve Stress and Mental Health Awareness Within Your Senior Team

While most of us could confidently say that we’re able to identify the main symptoms of stress, it can be much more difficult to recognise when someone is struggling – especially if they don’t want to draw attention to it.

Some less well-known indicators of stress can include lack of motivation, which might translate as lateness or increased absence. Employees who are stressed may, however, appear more motivated, for example, skipping lunch breaks or working longer hours. This might be disguising stress symptoms like poor concentration, poor appetite or low self-esteem.

For this reason, it’s a good idea to ensure your senior team are more aware of stress and mental health issues within the workplace. To do this, you could implement mental health training workshops or courses that would help to improve your team’s ability to recognise and respond appropriately to these issues.

Vivup offer mental health awareness training days to teams who are looking to improve their recognition of and approach to mental health issues within the workplace. If you’d like to know more, please email [email protected].

Implement Employee Benefits Programmes That Offer Support

Are there initiatives in place within your organisation to offer assistance to those struggling with stress? Measures can be put in place to support those currently suffering with high stress levels, and services such as those offered by connected employee benefits packages can provide education and guidance.

An Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) can provide 24/7, confidential support to staff, allowing them to discuss what’s worrying them and receive telephone support from a team of trained professionals.

Stress support doesn’t just end at EAP. There are a range of programmes your organisation can implement to help employees improve their wellbeing, such as assisting with mindfulness, relaxation and meditation, and much more.

It’s important to understand that stress can be caused or exacerbated by a huge variety of physical, mental and financial factors. At Vivup, not only do we offer EAP services, but we also support employees with a wider range of staff benefits that can support physical, mental and financial health and wellbeing.

Let Your Employees Know That Help Is Out There

If you’ve got a plan in place to tackle stress within your workplace, it’s important to spread the word. You can do this by communicating messages within your internal communications that will let employees know that your organisation is there to support them through times of stress.

It’s also a good idea to include information about these programmes within your recruitment process, as if potential employees are able to see that your organisation is on top of stress within the workplace, they’re more likely to consider you a good place to work.

At Vivup, we believe that communicating your staff benefits is just as crucial as offering them in the first place. That’s why we promote your employee benefits using multiple channels, which will drive engagement and sign ups in a huge range of different workforces

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Vivup makes it easy for employers to take a different approach to employee benefits by focusing on physical, financial and mental health wellbeing and the benefits to both employees and employers.

Contact a Vivup Account Manager for further information on 01252 784 541 or email [email protected].