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Tackling Stress in the Workplace: A Guide for Stress Awareness Month

Benefits | Wellness

Posted on: Thursday March 28, 2024

by Claire Harbord, Chief People Officer

It’s never been more important to renew our commitment to creating healthy, inclusive, and supportive working environments for our employees. A new report by Headspace has shown that a remarkable 77% of employees say that work stress has poorly impacted their physical health, and nearly 40% say that work has contributed to serious mental health challenges. The statistics are alarming and so for Stress Awareness Month 2024, it may resonate with many people across your organisation. 

Understanding Workplace Stress 

From heavy workloads and tight deadlines to interpersonal conflicts and financial concerns, the sources of stress are diverse and can significantly impact individuals' mental health and overall wellbeing. Moreover, the ripple effects of stress extend beyond the individual, affecting team dynamics, productivity, and the organisational culture as a whole. Understanding some of the challenges and breaking them down is an important first step. 

Workplace stress is an ongoing and significant concern impacting both employees and organisations alike. For HR professionals helping employees tackle stress in the workplace, we’re here to help you think of small steps to manage what may feel like a mountain to climb. The wealth of free resources on including guides, workshops and solutions, is a great place to start and you can access it all here.  

Workplace Strategies to Stress Less 

In line with the commitment to employee wellbeing, our organisation has implemented several initiatives aimed at supporting mental health and promoting holistic wellbeing that we’d like to share. Here are six practical things you can do this month to reduce stress in your organisation: 

1. Encourage a Work-Life Balance – It seems obvious but it’s important to encourage employees to maintain boundaries between work and personal life, so that they make time for relaxation, hobbies, and family. 

2. Encourage Open Communication - Create a culture where employees feel comfortable expressing concerns and seeking help without fear of judgment or reprisal. It’s okay to not be okay and to ask for help. 

3. Provide Resources for Resilience Building - Offer workshops or training sessions focused on stress management techniques, mindfulness practices, and emotional strength. 

4. Encourage Physical Activity - Regular exercise reduces stress levels and promotes overall wellbeing. Consider offering gym memberships, negotiating free trials with local gyms or organising group fitness activities. Perhaps a competition at work with a reward for the most steps in the month to peak interest and get people out at lunchtime (Personal Group did this in February and it was a lot of fun for all involved). 

5. Encourage a Supportive Environment – Create a workplace culture of empathy, support, and camaraderie, where colleagues can lean on each other during challenging times. Provide colleagues with opportunities to get together informally over coffee and cake (we do this every Thursday) to encourage conversation and a break from the laptop. 

6. The Role of Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) - A robust support system such as Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) can help address the mental and emotional wellbeing of employees. These programs offer a confidential space for them to seek guidance and support, in the privacy of their own home, promoting early intervention and preventive measures to mitigate the adverse effects of stress. EAPs offer advice on a huge range of complex issues, from mental health to debt advice to addiction.  Our partnership with Health Assured means that HAPI offers a comprehensive suite of services designed to support employees in various aspects of their lives: 

- Support - From financial guidance to mental health resources, HAPI provides employees with access to a wide range of support services, including discounts, wellness programs, and counselling. 

- Protect - Essential benefits such as insurance coverage and financial assistance are easily accessible through the app, providing employees with peace of mind and security. 

- Connect -The digital platform facilitates seamless communication and connectivity, enabling employees to access benefits, engage with the community, and receive recognition for their contributions. 

By leveraging the resources available through HAPI, Personal Group aims to empower employees to manage stress effectively, prioritise their wellbeing, and thrive both personally and professionally. 

Prioritising mental health and wellbeing in the workplace is not only a moral imperative but also a strategic investment in the success and sustainability of your organisation. Through proactive measures, such as robust EAPs and comprehensive support initiatives, we can create a culture where employees feel valued, supported, and empowered to navigate the challenges of work and life with resilience and confidence – little by little. 

For more information, download the Corporate Wellbeing Solutions Guide from the Stress Management Society 

or download our report on Mental Wellbeing here. 


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