Managing Stress in the Workplace

Managing stress, mental health, and wellbeing in the workplace is never a simple issue. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, why not speak to a Croner consultant who can provide expert insight and guidance when dealing with a tough situation.

Tackling Workplace Stress

No workplace is devoid of stress. Tackling the problem requires effort and collaboration between employers and employees, and should be reflected in your HR policies, as well as your disciplinary, grievance, redundancy, and sickness & absence procedures.

A recent survey by Perkbox revealed that 59% of adults cite work as their most common cause of stress, with only 9% saying they never feel stress due to work. This is a huge number, and while some stress at work is to be expected, recurring or severe levels of stress can only have a detrimental effect on morale and enthusiasm.

Tips for Managing Stress in the workplace

So, how can you best support your employees once you have identified they are under a lot of stress?

  • Workplace support – Encouraging your employees to take regular breaks, carrying out debriefs after particular stressful periods, and signposting relevant support channels are all ways you can support an employee. 
  • Promote a positive culture – Despite significant progress, mental health is still considered a somewhat taboo subject. Many employers are reluctant to permit days off work for poor physical health, let alone mental health. 
  • Encourage exercise – This doesn’t have to be strenuous, a simple walk during their lunch break or taking the stairs instead of the lift is enough. Exercise releases endorphins which combat stress.
  • Encourage socialising – The same rule applies as before, don’t push the employee too hard into social situations. If they are suffering from anxiety, or just generally are nervous around people, pushing them into a social situation will only make matters worse. 
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  • Encourage mindfulness – Mindfulness (if suitable) is a great way of encouraging employees to deal with stress on their own terms. 
  • Offer flexible working – Not viable for all workplaces or all roles, but if it is the well-being benefits are second to none. Many workplaces are offering flexible working not just on account of out-of-work commitments, but because it’s an employee benefit that is highly sought after.
  • Implement an EAP – An Employee Assistance Programme is a means of providing your employees with much-needed support without intrusion. 
  • Conduct ‘return to work’ interviews – if an employee has had time off due to mental health, make sure you conduct a ‘return to work’ interview to help establish the problem the employee was experiencing and if there are any adjustments you can make in the workplace to accommodate them.

Conducting a stress risk assessment

As an employer, you are obligated to manage stress in the same way you manage health & safety risks. The best way to do this is through a risk assessment.

When conducting a risk assessment for stress, there are a few key factors you need to consider. Knowing what to look for is crucial to the success of the assessment, so make sure you look out for:

  • Lack of managerial support
  • Tight deadlines
  • Too many responsibilities
  • Role uncertainty
  • Workplace violence

There isn’t a standard method of conducting a risk assessment for stress. You can use a variety of methods. You might, for example, issue employees with a questionnaire, including questions relating to the person’s role, their workload, resources, and how their work is arranged in terms of targets and deadlines. This method is the most likely to get you honest feedback and a fair representation of your workplace. It can help you get a wider view of the

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