In what has been some of the hardest few years for many people, managers who are looking to increase well-being in their teams can look first at how stress is managed in the workplace.
This year's theme for Stress Awareness Month is Community. It seems a fitting theme given the isolation and disconnection that people felt during lockdowns, especially with remote working. There is an even greater need to build a sense of community and belonging among our colleagues, friends and neighbours.
Stress can be incredibly challenging for people to cope with and can also be difficult for those around it to understand how to support their coworkers, especially in high pressure, fast-paced work environments. For some, stress can be contagious, and for others, it can cause them to close off to avoid any uncomfortable situations.
When we feel supported, though, studies show the effects of stress on our behaviour, thoughts and feelings can:
"Enhance resilience to stress, help protect against developing trauma-related psychopathology and decrease the functional consequences of trauma-induced disorders, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)."
Conversely, if people do not feel supported, it can worsen long term mental illnesses and severely impact an individual's productivity, performance and well-being in the workplace.
Without community support, feelings of social isolation and loneliness can affect a person’s mental health, particularly when these feelings are longstanding, and research suggests that it is associated with an increased risk of:
When it comes to offering and establishing further support and taking additional steps to help staff with stress or mental health problems, several options are available.
One of the first steps a business can take is to open communication between the employees and management teams, where everyone can communicate if and how they might be coping with work stressors.
Monthly well-being check-ins between team members and managers are an excellent practice to implement, providing ongoing employee/management touchpoints and keeping up to date with each employee's life.
Providing regular opportunities to communicate issues and reduce any stigma surrounding mental health can help employees feel supported enough to raise issues in the future and feel comfortable enough to ask for help when needed.
Establish different workspaces
Following on from this year's Mental Health Awareness theme of community, there are clear benefits to creating spaces within the office for socialising and relaxing, separate from working areas.
These separate spaces encourage occasional, advantageous breaks – which are necessary to reduce stress – while they can also boost productivity and help employees sustain a more positive mental state. This may look different for every organisation, but acknowledge that some people work best under different conditions.
For example, some people need a quiet space to think or meditate on ideas, while others find busy and highly stimulating environments the most conducive to problem-solving.
Separating spaces is not just for the office either but is a good practice for employees working remotely or doing hybrid work. Encourage employees to create their own spaces where possible, one that separates their workspace from areas used for relaxing or breaks.
Mental health training
To further reduce the stigma of mental health in the workplace, investing in mental health training programs equips managers and leadership teams with the knowledge, skills and clinically-led best practices for identifying when a coworker might be struggling.
Mental health training provides practical solutions and actions to follow that address any problem. Onebright offers businesses many training options, including stress management, which introduces mental health and well-being education elements into best practices with bespoke solutions that help address problems unique to your requirements.
Furthermore, partnering with an expert mental health organisation like Onebright can provide employees additional support with online and in-person access to a wide range of therapies from accredited clinicians.
Onebright's Mental health training for stress management
The importance of addressing workplace mental health, including stress management and how to deal with stress in the workplace, cannot be overstated.
Onebright uses clinically proven techniques to empower your workforce to develop life-enhancing strategies to cope with daily life pressures at work and home. Our popular courses, delivered by mental health clinicians, guide and support robust mental health training.
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