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Tackling Workplace Stress

Work-related stress is a pervasive issue that has touched the lives of almost every professional at some point in their career.

In the United Kingdom, a staggering 79% of employees commonly experience stress at work, marking it the most prevalent form of stress in the country, with a notable 20% increase since 2018.

The Alarming Statistics.

In the year 2021/22 alone, 914,000 UK workers grappled with work-related stress, depression, or anxiety. This not only takes a toll on individuals’ well-being but also bears a hefty economic cost, amounting to £28.3 billion annually and resulting in 13.7 million lost working days. Shockingly, less than half (40%) of those affected have spoken to their employers about their stress, and 16% are willing to leave companies where stress levels are overwhelming.

Consequences of Workplace Stress.

The consequences of workplace stress are far-reaching and impactful, affecting both mental and physical well-being. Symptoms include a decline in work performance, depression, anxiety, and sleep disturbances. Recognising work-related stress as a significant health and safety issue is crucial for the well-being of the workforce.

Managers on the Brink.

Managers, often tasked with overseeing their teams, are not immune to stress. Some find themselves shielding their teams from poor work-life balance by taking on extra tasks. This dual responsibility can lead to higher levels of burnout as they navigate both execution and management duties. Additionally, managers grapple with KPIs, GDPR compliance, strategic business actions, and the behind-the-scenes intricacies that are often unseen by employees.

Working Together to Combat stress.

Reducing or eliminating workplace stress requires a collective effort. By acknowledging the shared responsibility in managing stress, organisations can foster a healthier work environment. Collaboration, open communication, and a commitment to well-being are crucial elements in mitigating the impact of stress.

Tips for Stress Management.

  1. Identify the core issue and target that first: Often the source of unwanted stress can be traced back to one particular source, which is then projecting that feeling onto other day-to-day activities that ordinarily feel ‘easier’. Dealing with the stressor first can often relieve any tension around other elements of your workload.
  2. Do one thing for YOU at the start of every day: How many of us can relate to checking our emails or social media as soon as we wake up? Doing this starts you off in a submissive state, which can result in you prioritising other people’s agendas for the remainder of your day, leaving you feeling unfulfilled by the end of the day. Spending just 5-30mins doing one thing for yourself; whether it’s a workout, healthy breakfast, reading something you enjoy etc, will set your day off in the affirmative and drastically increase the chance of your day feeling more positive.
  3. Stay Organised: Prioritise tasks, set realistic goals, and maintain a well-organised workspace.
  4. Get Some Fresh Air: Regular breaks, walks, or moments of fresh air can rejuvenate the mind and body.
  5. Take Up Employee Support: Organisations should establish support systems, and employees should feel encouraged to seek help when needed.
  6. Know the Difference: Understand the distinction between healthy striving for excellence and the pitfalls of perfectionism and consciously draw the line between them so there’s a realistic expectation on yourself.

Addressing workplace stress is not just an individual responsibility but a shared commitment that extends from employees to management. By recognising the signs, fostering a supportive environment, and implementing practical stress management strategies, organisations can create a workplace where well-being is prioritised and stress is reduced, if not eliminated, resulting in a healthier and more resilient work culture.

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