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Managing stress

Take positive steps to improve stress management in the workplace

How can you help to reduce stress in your employees?

It is important to take the time to understand what stress is and identify the common causes and take positive steps to reduce stress in your team.

What is stress?

There is no universally agreed medical definition of stress. At its most simple, stress is your body’s physical response to mental or emotional pressure.

Our jobs, relationships, family life or money can all add to our levels of stress. When you’re stressed, your body believes it’s under attack and switches to what’s known as ‘fight or flight’ mode. As a result, a mix of hormones and chemicals are released into your body so that you prepare for physical action. Blood might be diverted to muscles, causing you to lose concentration or become less able to digest food.

When the threat passes, your body usually returns to normal. But if you’re continually under pressure this might not be the case.

Spotting the signs of stress

Stress can be triggered by many factors, ranging from issues at work to relationship and family problems that can be classified in to  physical, mind, behavioural or financial areas.

There’s no one single cause of stress but there are signs to watch out for in your employees. Some of the most common ones to look out for are:

  • Headaches
  • Tiredness, difficulty sleeping
  • Irritability & frustration
  • Anxiety
  • Prone to errors
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Low enthusiasm
  • Increased absence from work
  • Anger
  • Addictive behaviour

How can I help my team reduce stress?

  • Identify early signs of stress and speak to your team members. Keep a note of what the issues are and what you both agree are the next steps. You could also speak with your HR team, who can offer advice on dealing with the situation.
  • Communicate regularly and clearly with your team. Regular one to one meetings provide the opportunity to have an open and honest discussion, and identify if workload is becoming too much.
  • Create a comfortable work environment. Stress can be made worse by noise, temperature, hygiene and you. Remember, your mood sets the tone of your team.
  • Are the workloads of your team manageable? Encourage people to speak to you if they’re feeling overwhelmed or need your support.
  • Make sure your team is fully trained and equipped to do their job and if not, offer training and support.
  • Having resilient people in your team will help them deal with issues as they arise and bounce back from unexpected events.

What resources are available?

Use the following links to understand more about how to recognise and reduce stress

Toolkit for stress

The Stress Management Society provides resources and guides to help individuals and companies deal with stress.

Mental Health

The Mental Health at Work gateway provides resources, toolkits and case studies on mental health.

Money advice

Mental Health & Money Advice is a service combining support for both mental health and financial problems.

Useful contacts

Mind

Support for everyone experiencing mental health problems.

Call: 0300 123 3393 (9am - 7pm,  Mon - Fri except bank holidays)

Visit online: Mind

Anxiety UK

National charity helping people with anxiety.

Call: 03444 775 774 (Mon-Fri, 9:30am - 5.30pm)

Visit online: Anxiety UK

Anything else we can help with?

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