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Alleviating stress in the workplace

  • 3 Min Read

Have you ever felt increasingly stressed at work, but that no support was available to you? Workplace stress is becoming increasingly commonplace, yet many businesses are failing to address it. Not only does stress have a damaging effect on productivity at work, it can also have a detrimental effect to individuals’ health and wellbeing.

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How common is it for businesses to ignore stress?

Stress to a certain degree is part and parcel of life and can keep employees focused and alert, but when the stress becomes unmanageable and help isn’t available, businesses risk experiencing workforce burnout. This is an area we wanted to explore when we commissioned our latest study of 3,000 UK workers, as part of the 2018 UK Workplace Stress Report.

We wanted to discover the prevalence of workplace stress and how far British industries are going to combat this. Moreover, we wanted to expose the consequences that can arise for businesses who don’t provide support to staff who have reached burnout. The results were certainly interesting. Although 59% of employees report work as the most common cause of stress – more than family and financial stresses –  a staggering 45% of British businesses do not offer any help to alleviate this.

The negative effects of stress in the workplace.

It’s worrying to see how few businesses acknowledge excessive stress levels within their workforce as being a problem. Yet, our research reveals that stress can have hugely damaging effects on effectiveness at work (25%), work productivity (23%) and concentration (37%). What’s more, at least 1 in 10 employees will call in sick due to stress – indicating that a proportion of employees are struggling to tackle the root cause of their stress. As well as impacting on the health and wellbeing of the worker, workforce burnout will disrupt the company’s overall success – especially considering that around 7 percent of workers will look for a new job if their stress levels become unmanageable.

The positive effects of helping to alleviate stress.

Introducing methods to help reduce stress are a great way to encourage positivity and aid overall recovery of the mind. It’s important to keep staff motivated, and ultimately provide them with the opportunity to perform at their best in a pressured environment. These measures don’t need to be overly involved or expensive and can be as simple as offering flexible working, considering requests to work from home, or even just encouraging more communication between managers and their employees. Enforcing regular 1-2-1’s will give employees the opportunity to voice any concerns and issues so that actions can be put in place as and when the need arises.

However, one of the most valuable pieces of advice would be to employ methods which help tackle stress head-on, such as offering gym memberships, spa vouchers or counselling. These simple gestures will not only ensure staff feel valued, but they will have a direct positive impact on overall health and wellbeing.

In summary, the key is recognising the contribution work has on employee stress levels and by putting measures in place to alleviate this. Staff will, in turn, feel more motivated and their efficiency and productivity, both in and out of work will increase. What’s more, by doing this, businesses can avoid reaching stress burnout before it has serious and potentially irreversible implications on the company’s success.

About the author

Chieu Cao, Co-founder and CMO at Perkbox

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