Stress awareness month

As previously posted, April is Stress Awareness month; organised by the UK-based Stress Management Society. This event has been held every year since1992 to raise awareness of the causes and cures for the so-called “modern stress epidemic” and the last two years have been the most challenging many of us have ever faced.

Each annual Stress Awareness Month focuses on a central theme, with this year’s being Community. Organisers have stated on their website “We have chosen this theme because lack of support can cause loneliness and isolation, which in turn lowers people’s wellbeing, impacts mental health and can lead to mental illness”

It has been widely reported that the pandemic has had a hugely detrimental effect on the nation’s mental health and sense of community. Disrupted social lives, the cancellation of large gatherings, travel restrictions and working from home have kept us in one place for long periods of time. However, one of the positives to emerge from this unique situation has been the community spirit and support shown by so many to so many. The hybrid workplace presents both a challenge and an opportunity. Businesses and managers across the UK are working hard to adapt and remind employees of the services available to help them.

Taking steps as a business to support a healthy and happy workforce in a hybrid setting can help to boost morale, increase productivity, and ultimately champion workplace wellbeing. And Stress Awareness month provides employers with the perfect opportunity to establish a conversation and understand how best they can help their teams if they are struggling.

Encourage communication

While some employees will be open about the struggles they are facing, some may feel hesitant. Encouraging open lines of communication, employers can go a long way in building long term trust with staff as they realise their employer is there for them in the tough times as well as the good. Talking can also reduce the burden significantly and therefore expedite an individual’s recovery.

Watch out for employee burnout

Extended periods of stress can lead to burnout. Being aware of changes to an employee’s productivity is vital. Managers need to be vigilant when monitoring how individuals interact or show signs of disengagement. People can hide behind a computer and be unseen very easily. You may notice some employees cannot switch off from sending emails and working long hours, even when they are on holiday. Helping employees to plan their annual leave throughout the year can be a small step with a huge benefit.

The flexibility of hybrid working enables employees to achieve a better work/life balance as they are able to unwind more easily from the comforts of their home and devote more time to activities outside of work rather than commuting. Employers who support employees in and out of the workplace can help ensure both will thrive today and, in the years, to come.

If you have any concerns about your staff and stress in the workplace, contact us at enquiries@121hrsolutions.co.ukand we can discuss.

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