How can employers help their employees deal with stress?

mental health awareness week

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The 9th – 15th of May 2022 is Mental Health Awareness Week. With several socioeconomic reasons such as rising living costs, the Ukraine crisis, and rising Covid rates, there has never been a more vital time to have a discourse about mental health awareness and to remove the stigma of seeking treatment. When dealing with mental health issues, work-related problems can add to stress and exacerbate anxiety. Assisting employees with mental health issues will help both your employees and your company.


Stress is a medical condition that, if left untreated, can have major consequences for a person’s physical and emotional health. Extreme levels of stress can even lead to acute psychotic episodes that require hospitalization.


In this article, Dr. Julian Nesbitt discusses some of the measures he and the Head of Operations and HR have put in place to reduce stress in the workplace.


Working from home – Covid has forced businesses to ask their staff to work from home. For many, this was a whole new way of working, and for many, it also meant being abruptly removed from their social group. Employers can aid this transition by doing the following:

 

  • Taking the time to evaluate if the workstations that employees have created for themselves are appropriate and conducive to good mental health, such as desks in a room with natural light.

 

  • Encourage and support good behaviors like regular breaks (away from their desks), healthy eating (nutrition guidance), and regular exercise, which are all important for our mental health.

 

  • Provide helpful hints on how to keep motivated while working from home, such as dressing as if you were going to the office and sticking to a daily pattern to avoid working longer hours in the evenings and weekends, which could lead to burnout.

 

  • Make their employees know that working from home should not put them at a financial disadvantage, and that the company will cover any equipment or stationery they require to do their jobs efficiently.

 

IT Training – Working remotely has necessitated the use of services such as Zoom and Microsoft Teams to keep in touch with colleagues. This could be highly intimidating for folks who have never utilized these technologies or are not technically adept. Employers could do the following to avoid any anxiety:

 

  • To lessen the stress of having to set up and use these systems, ensure that all employees receive sufficient training.

 

  • Ascertain that their IT departments are prepared to handle a bigger amount of enquiries than usual.

 

Employers can also look to train their managers on how to recognise possible sources of stress in their employees, especially in a new remote working environment.


Penny Koulias, Head of Operations and HR, explains the rules regarding video conferences with cameras turned on: “We urge all employees to use their cameras in all (internal and external) meetings. This not only helps managers look for and recognise any stress indications in their employees’ emotional, physical, or behavioral conduct (both verbal and nonverbal), but it also encourages team bonding by fostering engagement and trust.”

 

  • Employers should spend time training their managers on how to handle any concerns they may have about any stress signals they have observed.

 

Communication: Employees working from home, especially those working for the first time, may lack a sense of belonging and connection to their company. As a result, it’s critical to assist employees in remaining virtually connected to their employers.

 

  • Regular business communications are an excellent approach for a company to keep its employees motivated by sharing information and recognising triumphs.

 

  • Regular 1:1 communication with individuals also gives an open line of support and reassurance.

 

  • Employers should make sure their employees are aware that help is always available and that they know how to contact the firm for help, whether it’s internal or external.

 

  • They should encourage their employees to seek help when they need it.

 

  • Scheduling team social time has a lot of mental health benefits, especially for people who rely on their coworkers for social support.

 

  • Employers should ensure that everyone is informed and treated fairly and equitably in all situations.

 

Employers should take time to recognize their employees more vocally or in writing during these uncomfortable times, especially in remote working environments when workers can feel isolated and begin to doubt their contributions and worry about their job security. According to studies, a simple “Thank you” can increase the recipient’s well-being and induce pleasant emotional states that can help them cope with stressful situations.


Managing employee wellbeing? See how HealthBoxHR can help your business tackle today’s mental health challenges in the work environment with our Mental Health Management Tool!

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