Stress affects everyone at one point or another. Whether it’s brought on by work or personal circumstances, it can end up affecting work output and relationships with colleagues.
Stress related absences are at an all-time high but you might not even realise it as most people are hesitant to say that’s why they’re off work. It’s much easier to say you’ve got flu than to deal with the questions or judgements that come from mentioning poor mental health.
According to a new report from health insurer BHSF Breaking the Cycle, a quarter of employees had taken time off work in the past year because of stress. Worryingly, over half of workers felt they were unable to confide in their employer about stress.
Why it’s in your interest to help
If your employees are suffering from stress related problems, either from work or their personal lives, their work is going to be affected.
You want your employees working at their best and in order to do this, you should keep an eye out for problems like stress. Ignoring them won’t make them go away so it’s best to have an open, supportive approach.
How to help:
Encourage open communication
Talking about mental health is generally avoided because of the stigma. So encouraging communication is key here. As a business owner, you should aim to make your workplace open so that your employees aren’t afraid to say when they’re struggling without fear of judgement.
There’s only so much you can do as a business owner if you’re employees aren’t making you aware of the problems that they are facing.
As the owner of a business, you are under an immense amount of stress in your life. You’re responsible for everyone’s job security and their ability to pay the bills.
It can be easy to forget to look after yourself if you’re busy worrying about everyone else. You should take care to manage your own stress levels before you can realistically address those of your workforce.
Introduce flexible working
This will help many people who have stressful personal lives, for example new parents. Having a flexible approach to work schedules or allowing people to work from home can help ease the stress for when they do come into the office.
You set the example for your workers so make sure they can see you taking regular breaks. Staying too long in front of the computer screen is bad for your health, so make sure you stretch your legs. You’ll come back to work more refreshed.
If you can, set up a break/quiet room for workers to get some peace from their work. In many workplaces, people sit at their desks for lunch as well as work. So see if you can set something up to avoid this.
How do you plan to tackle stress in your workplace? What tips would you give other business owners? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
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About The Author
An experienced business and finance writer, sometimes moonlighting as a fiction writer and blogger.