How to manage stress at work
There are many reasons why stress occurs at work. Having crazily tight deadlines and a horrifically heavy workload often trigger it…
The last 12 months have been so different from anything we’ve known before, there are now a whole host of new things causing employees to feel stressed.
Which is why addressing how to manage stress at work must be something all companies prioritise in 2021. And given April is Stress Management month, now is the perfect time to focus your efforts in this area.
We can all relate to stress as we have all experienced some form of it in our lives. For instance, learning to drive, moving house or starting a new job are some of the most stressful things for many people. Although not everyone experiences stress in the same way or at the same level.
That being said, we all need a certain amount of pressure to motivate us to do everyday things and perform at our best. However, stress occurs when we experience too much pressure without the opportunity to recover.
What is Work-Related Stress?
Stress at work is very similar. The definition of work-related stress is:
“the adverse reaction people have to excessive pressures or other types of demands placed on them at work”.
This can be anything from tight deadlines, as we mentioned before, to long working hours, to poor management.
Did you know? Extensive research has found that good line management is vital for employee health, engagement and wellbeing.
So, How do You Know if Someone is Stressed?
There are many things that may indicate someone is stressed. Things such as continuous headaches, tiredness or fatigue, confusion or memory loss, tearfulness, lack of motivation or outbursts of anger are common signs.
However, absence is also high on the list. The latest Labour Force Survey showed that in 2019/20 around 15% of all sickness absence were due to stress, anxiety or depression. That’s an increase of around 10% from the previous year.
Managers: How to Manage Stress at Work
The key is to know your team well. That way it will be much easier to see if anyone is showing any of the signs listed above.
An important part of a manager’s role is to:
- Give support, advice and guidance
- Make time for people
- Have an open-door policy
- Deal with conflict in a timely manner and with impartiality
All of these things will help your team respect you and have confidence in you, so that they can talk to you if necessary.
What Impact Has the Pandemic Had on Employees?
You need to be mindful of the impact Covid-19 has had on your team. Many people have suffered serious illness, felt worried about vulnerable, shielding family members. And sadly, many people have suffered bereavement.
A lot employees have been put on furlough; this can lead to feelings of stress about their financial commitments. People may also feel stressed about returning to work as lockdown restrictions are beginning to ease. A year is a long time to be away from the workplace and it may take a little time for some employees to get back in to the swing of things.
Other stress factors employees may encounter are:
- The Covid-19 vaccinations: some people may be anxious about having the vaccine, or if they have already had the vaccine, they may also worry about their colleagues who haven’t had their vaccination yet.
- Travelling to work: the commute to work if they normally take public transport, or sitting in traffic again may be worrisome for many.
- The workplace itself: has it been deep-cleaned? What protection has been put in place? Are there enough sanitisers? What about using lifts/toilets etc.?
- Their colleagues: how is social distancing going to work?
How to Prevent Your Team Feeling Stressed About These Areas
As a manager, you’ll perhaps need to carry out risk assessments to identify and implement the precautions to be taken prior to everyone returning to the workplace. You’ll then be in a position to reassure your team that all necessary measures have been put in place to safeguard their welfare, so they don’t feel stressed about returning.
Need Training on Stress Management?
If you need more information on how to manage stress at work, we have a short course ‘Managing Stress and Employee Wellbeing’ delivered over Teams. Interested in this course? Please contact us on 0345 184 4615.