Managing stress in the workplace

Author : Sean Connolly, Health Promotion Officer

Managing stress in the workplace

Stress; a familiar word in the hustle and bustle environment of modern society.  We as individuals must take ownership of this emotion and learn to be aware of what is it is and how we can combat it.   

We need the tools to understand how we can manage our stress levels. An organisation that values and cares for their employee’s overall wellbeing give employees these tools, enabling them to manage stress and take care of their mental, physical and emotional health.  

An organistion should be aware of the impact stress in the workplace can have on their staff at management level and beyond.  Those in leadership roles can have a massive impact on the stress levels of employees.   

No two employees are the same

We are all different and can suffer from stress in many ways.  The issue that is causing stress may not be work-related but it can still impact their performance and mood in work; not to mention that work may exacerbate the problem. For example, if an employee has an illness in their family, the company can offer flexible working or the option to work from home to help reduce the pressure they are feeling.  As an employee they would see their company as a helper, not a stressor and the weight can be lifted enabling them to improve professional performance and avoid absenteeism. 

Knowledge and Tools

Educating and enabling employees to maintain their own mental health is a gift in itself.  Management may not have all the answers all of the time but with an expertled wellbeing programme they can provide seminars, webinars, workshops and eLearning programmes.  These programmes should be diverse and all-encompassing in their approach, so all employees benefit from it. The employee can then use these tools in their daily routine improving their professional and personal lives. 

A small treat goes a long way

Having onsite treatments such as a hairdresser, nail technician or massage therapist can give employees a relaxing, convenient perk to their role within the company.  No more stressing about getting ready for the work night out, that meeting in the afternoon or getting that annoying muscle strain checked, it’s there, it’s ready for the employee and given to them by the company.   

The employee will feel valued and their needs recognised through such services.  This also allows for greater work-life balance by saving the employee time and energy which they can in turn return to the company by increasing productivity. Companies that support such groups and provide such treatments are viewed as more welcoming and in a sense make the employee feel at home.  They make employees want to progress their career with them creating a dedicated and committed workforce. 

Community, Support and Balance

Lowering stress levels can at times be a lonely path but with the appropriate community and support around you, you can bring balance into your life by joining groups who focus on the positive aspects of the working environment.  Increasingly, workplaces are helping employees to form these communities

Group training classes offer a fun inclusive communitive solution.  Through physical activity we release natural endorphins into our system which improves our mood while also improving our overall physical strength, endurance and immunity.  This in turn will solidify the bond between body and mindfully encompassing the companies approach to holistic health.   

Support groups such as LGBTQ, New Fathers, Choirs, Meditation Groups, Running Clubs, Sport and Social Communities enable employees to embrace their own unique approach to wellbeing with the added support of liked minded individuals, that path is no longer a lonely one.   

Managing stress in the workplace is something that can be and must be managed on a daily basis.  Having a healthy mind and body will provide endless benefits for every situation in your every day life.  A company that values their workforce will provide a foundation of wellness but it is up to you, the individual to build upon this, so harness this, utilise this and grow!