How To Win The Workplace War On Stress – Tips For Employee Wellbeing

Are you stressed at work?
A recent survey by the UK’s Chartered Management Institute contains some very important information for anyone involved in improving workplace wellbeing or promoting mental health within their organisation. It appears that managers are under more stress than ever as the recession continues – and that what the CMI terms “negative management styles” could be a contributing factor in lower levels of job satisfaction.

With stress and depression on the rise up from 35% five years ago to 42% in 2012 – what can we do to make sure our workplace is as stress free and productive as possible? We’ve compiled this short guide to de-stressing the workplace to give you some ideas and inspiration for maximising wellbeing and productivity. Here are some examples of things your organisation can implement:

Employee Assistance Programmes (EAPs) – many firms offer this service to their staff. Providing counselling for employees, an EAP allows people to seek help and support in a number of situations such as when they experience depression or bereavement. EAPs can help to improve productivity and wellbeing, while providing staff with an important confidential advice service.

Positive management style – the CMI’s recent research findings suggest that management style and job satisfaction are closely linked. And a positive, trusting management style saw greater job satisfaction and employee engagement among staff.

Improving the workplace environment. This doesn’t have to be anything drastic, like redesigning the office space. Indeed, it’s often the little and unexpected improvements that can make a small world of difference. An example of this is introducing plants to the workplace. A 2011 Scandinavian study on this subject found that workplace plants can reduce stress and even lower the absence rate. While it was a small-scale study and therefore not definitive, there’s no doubt that a greener office definitely sends out the message that the organisation cares about the space people are working in.

Flexible working. Various studies have indicated that workers who are able to have some control over their working hours are happier as a result, and show lower stress levels. Flexible working includes things like flexitime, working from home, working the week’s hours over fewer days – and also other patterns where the worker fits her or his hours to suit their family life, for instance if they have young children.

Promote mental health. There’s a good range of websites and resources around mental health. The ACAS campaign We Need To Talk has a free downloadable guide on the subject, plus the Mind mental health charity has a section dedicated to workplace mental health.

The recession won’t last forever, but if you’re looking to implement a robust and helpful mental health strategy as part of your commitment to workplace wellbeing, there could hardly be a better time.

Jen Jones writes for a number of health and wellbeing websites on behalf of AXA PPP healthcare company health insurance