Organisations can stop stress at work by setting clear goals for employees, encouraging breaks, supporting workers and offering flexibility
All businesses should draft a mental health and stress policy plan to identify potential areas in the organisation where workers could get overwhelmed. This can be done via a risk assessment.
Stress can result from harassers or bullies in the workplace. Alternatively, more organisational problems like culture and workload may also cause mental health problems.
Ways to Prevent Employee Stress
Stress management is hard, but organisations have tools at their disposal.
No employee or employer wants a stressful workplace, but mental health problems are on the rise. Nowadays, over half (57.3%) of all work absences are a result of stress and other psychological issues.
As a result, work stress management is more important than ever to act and prevent stress in the first place. Below are some tips on how to do exactly that.
Set Clear Goals
One of the most common causes of workplace stress is a huge workload.
Employees feel they lack control in their job, because there is simply too much to do. Jobs mount-up quickly, and the whole situation becomes unmanageable.
To prevent this, set clear and concise targets of a specific job. Highlight the worker’s exact duties, and nothing more or less. This means that an employee has much more control over their workload.
Encourage Breaks and Physical Activity
Especially in an office, it is hard to move around and have breaks, since your desk is never far away.
However, they are really important. Even if it is just for a five-minute walk, it can make a world of difference. It takes your mind off of work and refreshes you.
Organisations must promote breaks, because happier workers are more productive. Although it might seem counter-intuitive to offer breaks to increase productivity at first, it really works.
A recent 2019 study found that UK employees work the longest hours, but are less productive than their German, French and American counterparts. In a survey, just 24% of office workers claimed they never work through lunch. When combined with the fact that 68% of people say that they skip lunch because there is too much to do, we can conclude that breaks are hugely important.
Long hours can lead to burnout and a lack of motivation, and frequent breaks are the remedy.
Next, supporting employees and making them feel confident in their organisation is a must.
Organisations should foster a positive work culture, so that employees can confidently talk to managers about their problems. This can prevent stress at work, because they feel valued and listened-to.
When they do have problems, employees shouldn’t feel like they have nobody to talk to at work. They shouldn’t be scared of talking to people about their stress problems, especially if the symptoms are hard to notice.
Finally, offering a flexible environment is a really simple way of preventing workplace stress.
Everyone works differently. Some may be more productive in the morning, and others in the afternoon. In addition, people have different home problems they need to deal with. Having children, buying a new house or learning to drive are stressful, and employees need assurances that they won’t interfere with work. Ways of doing that include:
- Offering longer breaks or afternoons off and allowing the employee to make-up the hours whenever possible
- Offering an earlier or later start to the day
- Setting-up the employee to work at home
This means that employees can have an effective work life balance, reducing stress considerably.
For more information about how to stop stress at work, organisations can look at stress management training.