In the world we live in, it’s increasingly difficult not to feel as though stress is always in the spotlight.
Stress about money, our jobs, our relationships and, increasingly, about world events like the COVID-19 pandemic, conflicts and the climate. The amount of stress the world is under is higher than at any time in history, and it’s getting worse.
According to a study by Safety Management, around 77% of employees experience the physical effects of stress, like fatigue, headaches, tension, and even changes in their sex drive. 73% experience the physiological effects of stress, including anger, anxiety and crying. Of those surveyed, 25% of people view their job as their number 1 stressor.
Last month, April 2022, was Stress Awareness Month, an observance held annually since 1992. It aims to spotlight stress: what causes it, what it looks and feels like, and how we can relieve it. With work being responsible for so much stress amongst the general population, it becomes imperative that we all learn how to combat the stress that comes with it.
We all know the classic ways to reduce stress personally: time off, exercise, meditation, and mindfulness. But what can companies do to help their employees on this journey and reduce the amount of stress they experience?
- Work-life balance
The biggest barrier to reducing stress is staying in a stressful environment for long periods. Combatting this with effective work-life balance initiatives is key. Regular wellbeing afternoons, days where internal meetings are removed from the calendar so people can get through their work faster, and a company culture where weekend and after-hours work is off-limits can help drastically improve general satisfaction and reduce stress.
2. Involve your employees
Getting involved with your work community through in-person and digital opportunities, as well as monitoring employee satisfaction regularly through surveys, helps people feel as though they’re part of something. Employee opinion matters, and if you’re regularly getting a temperature check on how those opinions are going, you can be more agile and fluid in fixing issues as they arrive as well. Communities like DEI networks and community volunteering can also grow a sense of camaraderie; everyone benefits, including your stress levels, when you get involved.
3. Fostering growth and development
We all want to feel like we’re working towards something and that our company is on our side in that journey. Mentorship, training, advancement and recognition are key factors in helping employees feel as though their employers are invested in them and will support them even through hard times and mistakes.
There are many ways to combat stress in the workplace, but what works for one person might not work for the next. Best practice is constantly evolving and changing, but one thing stays the same; being aware of what causes stress, avoiding it, and having proactive coping mechanisms in place for when it becomes overwhelming are key.
In this vein, it helps to encourage your people to fill out their Mental Health Toolkit, recognise what works for them, and communicate that to those around them so that we can all proactively recognise and combat stress as it happens.
Working together, knowing the signs, and having open and honest conversations about the causes of our individual and collective stress can help create an environment where we all feel more relaxed and happy in the workplace.
By Nick Walker, Paysafe’s Chief Human Resources Officer.