How to lower workplace stress
Stress in the workplace does not only affect employees, it can also have a damaging effect on employers and the company as a whole. A report studying the state of mental health in Australia from Beyond Blue states that only 56% of workers feel that their senior management values their mental health and one in five workers have taken time off work for mental health reasons. Failure to address workplace stress and implement strategies to manage stress can be costly to employers, and it is estimated that untreated mental health conditions can cost Australian businesses around $10.9 billion per annum.
As an employer, you may believe that you have appropriate workplace stress management policies in place readily available to employees, however Beyond Blue’s report indicates that 35% of employees are unsure whether their workplace has any policies or procedures available to support mental health. Beyond Blue states “A mentally healthy workplace is one that protects and promotes mental health and empowers people to seek help for depression and anxiety, for the benefit of the individual, organisation and community. While creating a mentally healthy workplace is everyone responsibility, mental health is a leadership issue and change must start at the top.”
Within a company it is important that organisational leaders highlight the significance of stress management and play a critical role in establishing practises to promote a mentally healthy workplace. In an article addressing workplace stress management, Bupa recommends the following strategies to reduce and manage stress in the workplace.
Preparation to reduce the impact of stress
Provide wellness training for senior managers and upskill employees to educate individuals about the signs and symptoms of workplace stressEncourage open lines of communication between employers and employeesEncourage a work-life balance and reduce out of business hour communicationRestructure workplace flexibility options
Manage the effects of stress
Encourage employees to utilise their personal leaveAllow access to meditation or break areas in the workplaceProvide exercise equipment or game rooms to assist when coping with high stress situations
Through assisting employees to find a healthy work-life balance and demonstrating a companywide commitment to good mental health, companies can reduce workplace absenteeism, achieve a mentally healthier environment and contribute to reducing the stigma around mental health.