Top tips for managing stress more effectively in your organisation
Work-related stress, depression or anxiety account for 12.5* million days of absence by the UK workforce. Given the high cost and loss of productivity it causes it’s not surprising that employers are keen to find ways to reduce stress. We have compiled 10 top tips to help employers reduce stress and support good mental heal h.
A good starting point is to uncover the causes and triggers of stress in your workplace. Knowledge is power, and this will help you build a plan and tailor stress management initiatives for your particular environment.
Offer management training that develops good management practices and include specific mental health training, to equip them to identify and manage mental health issues proactively. Managers are typically the front line support for staff so it is important that they are properly equipped to manage mental health issues.
Select affordable support service to get business buy-in
Mental health support may already be included within your existing employee benefits, it doesn’t have to add additional cost. Check any private medical insurance, group protection products, employee assistance programmes as they can all include support for mental health.
If more is needed, look for solutions that offer good value for money to ensure you are able to get buy-in from the business.
We all handle stress differently. To ensure everyone has access to something that is appropriate for them, offer a range of different types of support.
Good support will not help if employees are unaware or uncomfortable using it. Train managers to signpost staff to the most appropriate support when an individual is struggling and under stress.
Technology can also help leadership teams manage mental health by providing anonymised data which can be used to identify patterns and highlight high-risk areas. Forward-thinking companies will look at how to embrace technology to help support mental wellbeing. Smartphones are an increasingly effective tool that can be used to engage staff, communicate initiatives and enable them to monitor their stress levels. You can use them to promote the mental health support.
Encourage physical activity
Encourage staff to participate in active pastimes and sport. Physical and mental health are closely connected, so much so that, according to mental health charity Mind, regular exercise can be more effective at treating mild to moderate depression than taking antidepressants**.
Offer financial advice
Money worries can be hugely stressful and are a common cause of anxiety. Offering financial advice, debt counselling and money management can help remove or reduce this source of stress.
Keep the focus on mental health throughout the year
Supporting mental health should not be an isolated event once a year. A calendar of events during the year can really help to promote good mental health and wellbeing, and remind employees about the support that is available should they need it.
Don’t forget about HR
Being responsible for the staff in an organisation does not make an individual immune from stress. HR managers often carry the burden of other people’s problems as well as their own. It is essential that HR managers are not forgotten. Employers should ensure they have all the tools available they need to manage absence so that they are well positioned to spot patterns and help the organisation to manage stress.
I hope you find these tips useful and use the opportunity of stress awareness month to look at new ways to nurture good mental health in your organisation by reducing stress.
Brett Hill is Managing Director of The Health Insurance Group, a position he has held since 2015 following two years as Commercial Director and four years as Sales and Marketing Director. Brett’s career spans 20 years, working in technical and senior management roles with leading insurance companies, including AXA PPP Healthcare, Standard Life Healthcare and Unum.
Brett has been responsible for charting the company’s increasing work in wellbeing and prevention, guiding clients in understanding the relationship between employee's health and business performance.