With research by the NHS showing 400,000 Britons claimed work-related stress was making them ill in 2010-11, this is definitely something you need to try and tackle. Of course, having a certain level of pressure at work can help to motivate employees to do their best work, but when things become excessive it can manifest into a range of psychological and physical problems.
Among the common symptoms of stress (and things you should be looking out for) are:
• Loss of appetite
• Aches and pains
• Low energy levels and lack of enthusiasm
If left to try and cope with stress on their own, workers may indulge in unhealthy behaviours such as smoking or drinking excessive amounts of alcohol, things that may have negative implications for both their personal well being and your business. So, what can be done to tackle stress in a productive manner? Here's a look at some of the things you should be doing.
- Give workers a chance to talk: Perhaps one of the biggest causes of workplace stress for employees is feeling that there is nobody they can talk to if they have a problem (either work-related or personal) that they think is effecting the job they do. Holding regular meetings - both group sessions and one-on-one discussions - can go some way towards eliminating this. If it's the latter, you should highlight that anything they raise will be kept strictly confidential. Just knowing that someone is there who is willing listen to - and act on - the issues they are facing should help workers feel calmer and more relaxed.
- Stress Shapes: Whether they are working to deadline or trying to close a sale, employees can sometimes feel under pressure to perform. Providing fun squeezable stress shapes - such as those offered by promotional product providers like 4imprint - to workers can help them to feel calm and take a momentary break from their tasks. These items offer fantastic brand interaction too. Making sure your logo is clearly visible on them will help recipients to remember that the company they work for cares about them, while it's also a good idea to print the telephone number of your HR department so people can easily get in touch with someone to discuss any problems.
- Create a Calm Working Environment: Last, but by no means least, establishing a calm working environment will go some way towards managing stress within your company. Even if the nature of your company's work means there is a lot of noise, an office that is decorated in neutral colours and that receives lots of natural sunlight should help employees feel calm. Having plants or even a small patch of artificial grass is another fantastic way to create a more pleasant office. This will help staff to feel at one with nature as they work, while providing chairs, armrests and other items of furniture should ensure they are physically comfortable.
What are you doing to reduce stress levels in your workplace? Share your experiences by leaving a comment below. We'd love to hear from you!