Recent studies reveal that 1 out of every 7 employees in the UK grapple with various mental health challenges, impacting not just their personal lives but also the overall efficiency of businesses.

To address this, companies must proactively tackle stress levels in the workplace through measures extending beyond Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) and basic training.

Keep reading as we explore various strategies to mitigate workplace stress, including enhancing workspace design, promoting healthy habits, fostering effective communication and cultivating a positive work environment. These practical tips aim to improve employee wellbeing, boost productivity, and create a supportive workplace culture.

The importance of stress management

Too few companies conduct formal stress or psychosocial risk assessments. Yet, a failure to adequately manage work-related stress risks could result in enforcement action by the HSE and potential legal liabilities for employers. Prioritising employee wellbeing in workspace design yields tangible benefits.

Strategies for alleviating workplace stress

Consider the following strategies:

Harness natural light

Embracing circadian lighting, which mirrors the body’s natural sleep/wake cycles, has shown promise across diverse sectors. Such lighting systems can positively influence health, alertness and productivity.

Focus on ergonomics

Ensuring ergonomic furniture and equipment and offering regular postural training and risk assessments are crucial to prevent work-related strains.

Mindful color choices

Opting for neutral colours creates a soothing environment, reducing stress levels. In contrast, bold colours may stimulate creativity, but their impact should be considered in specific areas.

Embrace biophilia

Humans have an innate connection with nature, known as biophilia. Incorporating plants into the workspace not only enhances productivity by 15%, as per research by the University of Exeter, but also improves air quality, promoting overall employee health.

Manage distractions

Address noise, temperature and interruptions from colleagues to minimise distractions. Research indicates that excessive emails and tasks beyond job descriptions significantly impact productivity and stress levels.

Promote healthy sleep habits

Lack of sleep is a prevalent concern, affecting workplace performance. Educating employees about the importance of quality sleep and offering tips to enhance sleep quantity and quality can significantly benefit employee wellbeing.

Help your workforce establish boundaries

Setting clear boundaries between work and personal life is vital to reducing stress levels. Encourage your staff to avoid checking work emails or taking work-related calls outside of designated work hours. Encourage them to allocate time for relaxation, hobbies and spending quality time with loved ones to help create a healthy work-life balance.

Prioritise tasks

Good time management training is essential so your staff can break down tasks into manageable chunks and prioritise them based on urgency and importance. Allow them to focus on completing one task at a time rather than trying to tackle everything at once. This approach can help prevent feelings of overwhelm and increase productivity.

Mindfulness training

Allow and encourage your employees to incorporate mindfulness practices into daily routines, such as meditation, deep breathing exercises, or mindful walking. These techniques can help calm the mind, reduce stress levels, and improve overall mental clarity and focus.

Take regular breaks

Not only good for stress but also vital to reduce the potential for musculoskeletal injuries. Get your staff to schedule regular breaks throughout the workday to rest and recharge. Stepping away from the desk, going for a short walk, or engaging in a brief relaxation activity, maybe doing some simple stretching exercises, gives the brain and body a chance to rest and can help prevent burnout and maintain energy levels.

Communicate effectively

Foster open and honest communication with colleagues and supervisors. If employees are feeling overwhelmed or stressed, encourage them to speak up and ask for support. Discussing workload concerns or addressing interpersonal conflicts early on can help prevent them from escalating into major stressors.

Set realistic expectations

Be realistic about what you can accomplish within a given timeframe. Setting achievable goals and deadlines can help reduce pressure and prevent feelings of inadequacy.

Promote a positive work environment

Cultivate a supportive and inclusive workplace culture where employees feel valued, respected and appreciated. Recognise and celebrate achievements, provide constructive feedback and encourage teamwork and collaboration.

How can Cardinus help

While businesses cannot control external factors impacting employee stress, they can take proactive steps to support them within the workplace. For further insights into mitigating psychosocial risks and enhancing workplace wellbeing, contact us to learn how our employee wellbeing and productivity software Healthy Working Analytics can help.

We also have several eLearning courses, which provide a holistic approach to supporting the mental and physical wellbeing of employees.

Mental Health Awareness Week 2024

‘Movement: Moving more for our mental health’ is the theme of Mental Health Awareness Week 2024.

Since 2001, the Mental Health Foundation has been leading Mental Health Awareness Week – bringing together the UK to focus on getting good mental health. Each May, millions of people from every part of society take part. They include people in schools and further education; private, public and charity sectors; families and individuals.

Your donations help them to  build a society with good mental health where everyone can thrive.

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