April marked Stress Awareness month, placing the conversation around work-related stress at the top of the agenda. We believe it’s important to keep the conversation going…
Stress is an inevitable part of the working day and can have both positive and negative outcomes. The pressure to achieve results can be a positive motivational force, yet too much stress – or the wrong kind of stress – can lead to employees becoming overwhelmed and struggling to cope.
So, how can you better manage stress in the workplace? What small workplace changes can make a difference? And which employee benefits can help alleviate the problem?
It’s time to find out…
Looking for employee benefits that help support your staff’s health and wellbeing? Contact our friendly team of experts at [email protected] or use the chatbox in the bottom right.
What causes workplace stress?
“We live in a culture that values business and stress. Stress is a powerful currency. The busier and more stressed you are, the more important and valuable you seem…” – Heather Kelly, CEO of SSPR LLC.
The first step in helping your staff with stress is to recognise where it is coming from. Stress can come from a range of work circumstances, often made worse when employees feel they have little or no support from colleagues or managers. Without resources to cope with financial, physical, and/or psychological demands, it becomes increasingly difficult for staff to retain a healthy stress response.
Examples of what can cause workplace stress include:
- Low wages/salary
- Lack of opportunity for advancement/career growth
- Heavy workload
- Unrealistic deadlines and job expectations
- Long hours
- Management styles and practices
- Health-related anxiety at work (such as Covid or other personal health worries)
- Personal issues e.g., relationship/family issues, health problems, bereavement, financial problems
Knowing the potential causes of “toxic stress” can help employers design measures to reduce it.
Which employee benefits tackle workplace stress?
Providing your staff with an employee benefits package that effectively targets their financial, physical, and mental wellbeing will go a long way to helping them better manage stress.
Last year, we carried out a survey which quizzed start-up employees about the benefits they most desired. On the specific issue of mental wellbeing, 57% said that access to mental health services was the most important thing for them. While this may seem an obvious choice, it actually reveals something quite important: there is a demand for professional support. This was closely followed by 49% opting for flexible working as the benefit that helps the most, providing staff with an element of control over their work schedules.
Other employee benefits that help with workplace stress include:
- Employee Assistance Programmes
- Extra holiday entitlement
- Good pension scheme
- Free/discounted gym membership
- Virtual GP
- Mental Health First Aid Training
- Business Health Insurance
- Health cash plans
- Income Protection
Each of these benefits helps to improve an employee’s circumstances and remove some of the causes of stress, whether that’s worries about money or physical health.
What workplace changes can help tackle workplace stress?
Developing the right employee benefits package is important but there are other, smaller workplace changes you can make, which can really help employees. Below we’ve listed a few ideas you can implement across the workplace.
- Encourage staff to take regular breaks away from desks: get outside!
- Arrange fun work events/lunchtime meetings outside of the office: meeting and interacting in a more relaxed setting gives staff the chance to connect and create a positive social dynamic.
- Surveys/data collection: consider running an anonymous survey to identify stress-related issues and give staff the opportunity to voice any existing issues/concerns.
- Regular performance reviews/1-2-1s: allows employees to see what they’re doing right and where they can improve. But you can also provide the opportunity for employees to express any concerns or difficulties they have. These two-way conversations ensure that staff are being heard – which is reassuring for any employee.
- Establish regular/consistent communication across all members of staff: while staff can be overwhelmed by too many communications, it’s important to keep them up to date with what’s going on – and give them the chance to feedback.
- Establish a clear overall company vision/goal and share it with your teams: this allows employees to see how and where their efforts fit into the big picture. Great for providing positive motivation, instead of feeling like they are slogging away in a silo for no wider benefit.
If you want to set up an employee benefits scheme for your business, our team of experts can help! We are happy to answer any questions regarding employee benefits and the health insurance market free of charge. Call 01273 222805 or use the chatbox in the bottom right.
How do businesses benefit from addressing workplace stress?
17.9 million working days were lost to stress, anxiety, and depression in 2019/2020. This is a huge figure and one that not only impacts individual employee life but the overall success of your business.
Addressing work-related stress will bring many benefits to your company:
- Reduced costs of absences including sick pay, staff cover, overtime and extra staff recruitment
- Improved workplace morale and increased employee satisfaction
- Increased productivity gained through a healthier, happier and more motivated workforce
- Reduced presenteeism – instead workers will be more focussed and energised
- Improved employee retention – happier, healthier and less stressed employees will likely stay with the company longer.
- Improved reputation – a company known for maintaining a healthy workplace environment, will likely generate positive word of mouth. This in turn may help with recruiting new team members.
To name only a few!
But stress can be important!
A certain amount of pressure is a motivating force needed to help us perform at our best. However, too much pressure, for too long a period can have adverse effects. As with everything, it’s all about balance.
At Hooray Health & Protection we help you find the right employee benefits that fit with the specific needs of your business and staff. We recognise the importance of providing the perfect blend of perks to give to your staff, helping you get it right the first time around, and ensuring your staff are protected.
Call us on 01273 222805 or click on the bottom right chatbox and we’ll deliver straightforward advice and the most competitive quotes for FREE.