Stress in the workplace is on the rise and it’s costing British companies considerably in lost time and revenue.
According to a recent study by CIPD, stress now accounts for 47% of short-term absences and 53% of long-term absences in the UK and costs the British economy an average of £6.5 billion a year. It is therefore crucial for managers to notice the signs of burnout before it escalates.
Stress can occur for a number of reasons and as such, there is no one size fits all approach to burnout prevention. To help you create a strategy that works for your team, we’ve compiled five tried and tested methods to avoid excessive stress in the workforce.
1. Explore the topic of burnout
Most people are aware of feeling stressed but may not understand the impact this can have on their overall health and wellbeing. Excessive stress can very quickly escalate, affecting every part of a person’s life, and they may only realise the impact of this when it is too late. We have also found many people don’t feel comfortable admitting they are stressed, instead choosing to keep quiet and carry on for fear of looking weak or unprofessional.
Combat any negative perceptions of stress by making it a topic of discussion. By opening up the topic of stress with your team, you are showing them such feelings are natural, and helping them to recognise the early warning signs. From here you can work with your team to put coping mechanisms in place.
2. Create a safe space for team members
Stress is aggravated by the feeling of being trapped and having no one to talk to. Make sure your team know it is safe to talk to you about their feelings and create a space in which they can do so.
You may want to consider carrying out psychometric profiling with team members to fully understand their personalities and how they are likely to respond to different triggers. This will help you to recognise early signs of stress better and condition your response according to each individual.
3. Keep an eye out for the tell-tale symptoms of stress
Ensure you are aware of the early signs of stress. Do you have a team member who has suddenly become withdrawn? Perhaps it’s clear someone isn’t sleeping well or they’ve become more irritable than usual. By tuning into your team as individuals, you’ll be able to better notice and react when something changes.
As a manager, it’s not only your job to ensure a smooth operation for the business but to prioritise your team’s health and wellbeing. Do your research about the causes and symptoms of stress, this will also help to debunk some of the myths surrounding stress in the workplace.
4. Encourage team social activities
Team bonding is an important contributor to wellbeing in the workplace and should be encouraged whenever possible. Strong team dynamics are formed within a nurturing community and it’s important to create a space where personal connections between team members can be made, outside of the high pressured work environment. When teams feel bonded, they are more likely to open up to each other and support one another in stressful times.
5. Have a workplace wellness plan
Wellness in the workplace prioritises mind, body and spirit in equal measure. Although it may be tempting to focus on the psychological implications of stress, burnout also takes a toil on the body and can cause a number of issues, including weight gain, muscle pain, physical exhaustion, headaches and digestive issues.
Create a holistic wellness plan that encourages your team to keep fit and active, incentivises healthy eating and educates on the importance of regular breaks from the computer screen.
It is time for a shift in the workplace paradigm. Wellbeing in the workplace can no longer be seen as a ‘nice to have’ but is instead a necessary strategy to avoid burnout and create happier, more productive teams. Your staff will also feel more valued, which in turn will create more loyal employees who will work harder to drive the overall success of your business.
Ready to make workplace wellbeing a priority? Get in touch to see how we can help you tackle burnout in the workplace and create happy, productive and profitable teams.