Effective Stress Management

Stress is a natural part of life, but we don’t have to willingly accept its detrimental effects. Effective performance depends on overall wellbeing so it’s important to monitor and manage stress levels at work. Organisations that promote and value the health and well-being of employees benefit from improved engagement and retention with consequent gains for performance and productivity.

The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) defines Work-related Stress as “the adverse reaction people have to excessive pressures or other types of demand placed on them”.

In the workplace, stress causes all sorts of business issues which, if left unaddressed, may hurt morale and profits; this could have serious consequences:

  • Absenteeism
  • Lower overall productivity
  • Increased staff turnover
  • Stress related expense such as health insurance costs and sick pay

High levels of stress in the workplace adversely impact the employee experience. It matters because these days it is very easy for employees and ex-employees to post about the organisation on social media, such as Glassdoor. If you are seen as offering an unhealthy work environment it can make it harder to recruit good candidates.

Manage Stress

Employees who are able to manage their stress levels are likely to be more engaged and positive which is reflected in the workplace culture and will improve the chance of achieving sustainable productivity levels.

It’s not possible to entirely eliminate stress but there is a lot managers could do to help their team members cope. Sadly, many managers are not trained in management techniques let alone in man management or emotional intelligence. Good management skills only come with experience, training, and support. The best employers ensure that they identify manager development needs at each review.

Performance management, including regular reviews, enables an employer to monitor how employees are managing workload and stress. It provides an opportunity to identify if a person is experiencing difficulties with deadline, workload, role or working relationships and to agree suitable ways of addressing these issues.

Communicate Well

Also consider using a staff survey to examine the personal opinions of employees and determine whether they are happy/content/engaged at work, this will also outline areas of concern and offer opportunities to change or make improvements.

Communication is key. A culture of silence will damage morale, it is important that employers encourage dialogue and transparency between staff and management. Allowing employees to share the issues they are facing, enables an employer to address any problems and concerns.

Organising regular meetings is a great way to provide your staff with the opportunity to bring to light any problems, whilst finding solutions that may make the workplace more productive and efficient.

Remember for a manager to be supportive and responsive in helping staff cope with stress at work it is important that the manager feels confident and resilient in his/her role. Taking measures to counter stress and to create a positive work environment, will increase employees’ levels of job satisfaction and wellbeing, and will help the organisation to be more efficient for the future.

Posted: Friday 19 April 2019

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