Managing employee stress is becoming a big issue for organisations. The latest statistics from Health and Safety Executive (HSE) show that there were 0.9 million cases of stress, anxiety and depression in 2021/22. The same HSE report states that stress, depression and anxiety accounted for 51% of all work-related ill health.
Covid has made this challenge harder to confront, with 449,000 of the 822,000 citing their work-related stress was made worse by the pandemic.
Under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, employers have a legal obligation to do everything “reasonably practicable” to ensure the general health, safety, welfare and wellbeing of their employees. While this inevitably causes many organisations to focus on implementing safer working practices to reduce the risk of accidents, employers must also place an emphasis on maintaining the mental wellbeing of all employees and limiting employee stress.
Support employee wellbeing and mental health at work with our IOSH Approved Mental Health and Me course and help employees develop strategies and self-care tips, as well as discover the importance of talking and sharing their experiences.
What are the benefits of managing employee stress?
There are benefits to reducing employee stress and maintaining good employee mental health:
Reducing absence rates
While the thought of 822,000 employees suffering from mental health issues is certainly worrying. These problems can severely hamper the productivity and efficiency of your teams. Such high absence rates are costing organisations a small fortune in sick pay and lost working hours.
By providing a work environment that takes work-related stress seriously, you can raise awareness of the causes and signs of intense work-related pressure, and reduce the number of absentees in your organisation, meaning productivity and efficiency won’t continue to be affected.
When employees can see how seriously you consider their mental wellbeing and provide tangible help, they’ll undoubtedly become much happier in their work. When employees feel happier, they usually feel much more motivated and driven; ultimately encouraging them to contribute more and improve their productivity.
Additionally, such a motivated workforce could lead to reduced employee turnover rates, meaning you don’t have to worry as much about losing star performers or, indeed, the cost of replacing them. After all, when they feel as though they’re constantly under unmanageable pressure, employees will quickly start looking for a new place to work.
How to manage employee stress and mental wellbeing
The most effective way to protect the mental health of your employees is through the creation of a more supportive environment and wellbeing strategy. Your organisation should take steps to identify work-related pressure, where it might be occurring and the likely causes which lead to it. It’s important to ensure that employees understand support is available.
Stress awareness training
Through stress awareness training, you can begin cultivating a culture based on shared understanding. At Praxis42, we provide an extensive Stress Awareness for Managers course that aims to provide you with a basic understanding of the differences between stress and pressure, and teach you how to handle any mental health issues effectively. In addition, our stress awareness for managers course is designed to teach managers how to successfully manage stress in the workplace by applying the principles of the HSE’s Stress Management Standards.
Employee stress support
According to CIPD, 74% of organisations provided access to counselling services and employee assistance programmes in 2021. According to the study, support available for employees include:
- Access to counselling services (74%).
- Employee assistance programmes (74%).
- Finance education and support (35%).
- Access to physiotherapy and other therapies (32%).
- Stop smoking support (27%).
- Wellbeing days (30%).
- Regular on-site relaxation or exercise classes (24%).
- Access to complementary therapies (15%).
Discover the steps to improving mental wellbeing and understand the mental health continuum with our IOSH Approved Mental Health and Me course, supporting the development of a comprehensive management plan for wellbeing and mental health at work.