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Stress Awareness Month: 8 tips to manage stress in the workplace

Stress Awareness Month is here and we’re kicking it off with some expert tips on how to, yes you guessed it, handle stress in the workplace.

Navigating the complex picture of stress in the workplace can be stressful in itself. With a stress and anxiety epidemic on the UK’s hands, it’s clear to see why managers and employers might feel lost on how to mitigate this within their teams.

Stress affects nearly 1 million employees in the UK

Employee wellbeing is a journey and one that we are here to support. Our experts and team members have shared their expertise and drawn upon experiences to compile eight ways you can destress your employees today. The majority come at zero cost, and all carry the potential for maximum impact. Why not try one, two or eight of these this Stress Awareness Month.

  1. Be flexible

Creating a flexible work culture is exceptionally important in the current business landscape. If you don’t offer flexibility, another employer certainly will. Working from home, in the office, or even in a different country is the new normal and you need to adapt to it.

Flexibility goes beyond geographic locations. Positively reacting to staff emergencies, parental duties, medical appointments and holidays create a flexible work culture and encourage a shared responsibility approach to work.

2.Practise healthy habits yourself

“Practising what you preach is key. As a leader, modelling is exceptionally important for your employees. Openly prioritising self-care, leaving the office on time, attending family events, stepping away from your desk for lunch, not responding to emails on holiday etc. are all vital behaviours for combatting stress. Normalising this behaviour will encourage your employees to adopt similar habits and make managing stress in the workplace easier.” – David Lawlor, CEO at hasta

3. Promote natural remedies

“Proper breathwork immediately alleviates feelings of stress and anxiety. Within seconds, breathing low, slow and deeply will help you regain your autonomy and refocus your mind. The air is everywhere and breathwork is the most instantaneous and tangible way to destress an individual. Encouraging this in the workplace is great way of managing employee stress.” – James Dowler, breathwork expert

“Cannabidiol (CBD), is a naturally occurring compound found in Hemp and Cannabis plants. CBD reacts with the Endocannabinoid System (ECS) within your body to help support and maintain a balanced lifestyle. The three main reasons people use CBD are for anxiety, sleep and pain. CBD is not psychoactive so anyone who is feeling stressed in the workplace could use this as a viable option for managing their stress levels.” – George Kruis, Co-founder, fourfivecbd

4. Encourage breaks

“Take mini-breaks and connect to someone who matters. Socialising boosts work engagement and wellbeing. This, in turn, can have a positive effect on your stress levels and sleep the next night.” – Dr. Kat Lederle, Founder, Head of Sleep Health, Somnia and hasta’s Sleep Expert

5. Encourage sleep

Leading us nicely into our next tip: sleep. Managing workload, encouraging employees to leave and log off on time all contribute to better sleep and rest. Sleep is essential for your mind and body to reset and recharge. Even taking a 10 or 15 minute power nap during the day helps to manage emotions and improve brain functionality. Encouraging this for remote workers might be a bit easier, but don’t underestimate what a bean bag in a quiet corner can do.

6. Manage your stress container

“A great way to manage stress in the workplace is to look at managing your stress container, a concept coined by MHFA England. The amount of stress we can hold varies from person to person and we need to keep an eye on how full up it gets. Ask yourself and your employees, ‘What small tweaks can you make to relieve some of the pressure?’

“Even if it’s telling someone at work you’re feeling stressed (it’s not a failing) or turning off your notifications in the evening (even the sound of it can be a stress trigger). Just having the psychological awareness of our stress levels can be beneficial and nudge us into doing something to address it.” – Jo Carnegie, loneliness expert, journalist and author

7. Turn off the tech

“Encourage staff to delete work emails off their phones. Simple and effective- this creates a division between leisure tech tools; just delete the app, and everything work related on your phone to avoid working at 11pm on your sofa. Get an alarm clock and go to bed without your phone.”- Dr Rachael Kent, leading academic and researcher in digital health.

8. Make sure your environment promotes wellness

Workplace stress affects younger employees the most. The combination of financial uncertainty, a culture of presenteeism and the toxic assumption that they need to “prove” themselves are all contributing factors. Creating a space that promotes wellness can counteract overwhelming feelings.

“We have an open plan office with lots of natural light and green plants which make the space I work feel calm and tranquil. There are also water bottles and coolers on hand as reminders for hydration. There’s always laugher in the air too, creating a sense of friendship and support. While there are times when I do feel stressed, having these positive things around me does help to counteract those feelings.” – Sophie, Marketing Executive at hasta

Managing stress in the workplace doesn’t stop here. There are many other things you can do such as encouraging movement, introducing decaf coffee as well as healthy snacks. While these things may not have an instant impact on stress levels, implementing small changes like this will have a sustained effect on workplace stress over time. Utilising a few of these suggestions from our experts could have a really positive impact on your workforce.

Let us know which tips you’ve implemented on our social channels.

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