Why It’s Worth Investing in Stress Awareness

Stress is a word that we have heard so many times over the last two years. In fact, if you asked many people I am sure that ‘stressful’ would sum up their experience of the pandemic.

April is Stress Awareness Month, and with the easing of lockdown restrictions, many are finding themselves back in the office or adapting to a permanent working from home or hybrid working environment. With this comes benefits, but also many challenges.

The last two years has changed how we connect and communicate, and although it’s also taught us resilience and shined a spotlight on our ability to adapt, it’s also impacted our emotional, psychological and social wellbeing.

Employers have a ‘duty of care’ to ensure that employees are not subjected to excessive stress in the workplace, this also means arming employees and leaders with the tools they need to manage stress effectively.

As well as costing businesses money through work-related stress and mental illness absences (£26 billion per annum in fact), stress thought to be responsible for almost half of working days lost in Britain due to health issues. 

What is Causing Stress in the Workplace?

A recent CIPD survey taken in 2021 showed the below reasons of employee stress:

  • Workloads and amount of work.
  • Poor management.
  • New demands and challenges arising from working from home.
  • Non-work factors such as relationships, financial etc.
  • Poor work-life balance

How Will Stress Awareness Help Your Organisation?

Investing in stress awareness is not only essential for your employee’s wellbeing, but also helps improve productivity, reduces absence and creates a better working environment.

With coaching and consulting I focus on where the stress is happening, what is causing it and what you can do about it.  Raising awareness with a tailored workshops is a valuable way to educate, remind and upskill all employees so that it meets the needs of your organisation.  They might include:

  • Share key ways to spot the signs of stress so that conversations, support and adjustments can happen quickly and effectively
  • Build confidence in the workplace to stop the stigma of stress and mental ill-health so that conversations happen often and with ease.
  • Revisit healthy boundaries; this is vital with hybrid working where your 9-5 can merge into evenings and weekends and make it hard to disconnect from work.
  • Reduce stress levels within teams so that they can create healthier working environments.
  • Look at simple and effective tools and techniques to maintain a less stressful environment so that sick days and presenteeism is reduced.
  • Protect your company’s reputation; high levels of stress can result in reputational damage as well as employment tribunal claims.

Every time I work with an organisation, I check in with how people are feeling.  It results in targeted support with a bigger impact – even when people think they know what they ’should’ be doing, it’s not always happening.

Emma gave a presentation on ‘managing stress to improve performance’.  Emma’s presentation immediately engaged the Zoom room, was welcoming and took me to a place of calm and gave me exactly what I needed. Even when I know what helps, for me, it’s easy to lapse into stress and ignore symptoms.  Really useful short group session and much more than I was expecting, thank you

How Does Stress Impact Productivity?

Initially raised stress levels can be beneficial, giving drive and increased adrenaline to get things done.  However, in the long term it can be detrimental to productivity because it has a negative impact on physical and mental wellbeing.

  • Distraction.  Have you ever had that churning stomach, tight chest or constant worry in your head?  It’s pretty distracting and that’s going take up time and attention and prevent you working as effectively.
  • Less Creativity.  Being stressed affects parts of our brain (the pre-frontal cortex) that are used for reasoning, problems solving and creativity so that it’s harder to do basic tasks.
  • Tiredness.  Being stressed is tiring!  How often have you had a stressful day and feel shattered?  Mental and physical energy is affected and reduced efficiency.
  • Emotion.  Stressors affect our self-control meaning that we become snappy, angry, shouting and not only does that affect productivity it also has a negative effect on the team and peers.

Is it Worth Investing in Stress Awareness?

Well, it depends if you’re willing to not only listen to employees but also make the changes. Stress awareness and workplace wellbeing shouldn’t just be a tick box exercise with money thrown at it.

All of the reasons given above will help your company in the long run, through higher output, lower staff turnover and lower sickness.

So, although I can’t give you a set return on investment, the answer is yes it’s worth the investment.  A recent report by Mind and Deloitte said that there’s an average return of £5 for every £1 spent.

Wellbeing in the workplace is no longer something to roll your eyes at, but something to take seriously and something that is only going to be focussed on more because of the last two years.

Ask me about my Stress Awareness Workshops or grab my DIY pack.

This is a pack full of factual information, instructions and resources so that you can implement your own Stress Awareness and activities with your workplace and colleagues without having to think up ideas.  There are also posters and images to share in your own newsletters along with a quiz and some conversation topics.

Or, to find out more about my Stress Awareness Workshops get in touch now, spaces are filling up fast.

Emma Langton has over 10 years experience in supporting performance and mental wellbeing in organisations. She helps leaders with 1:1 coaching and organisations with training and workshops. Emma regularly provides insights on leadership and mental wellbeing on her Lessons for Leaders podcast and has been featured in Forbes, Metro, Yorkshire Business Review and The Press Business Section.

This post discusses: anxiety, coaching, emmalangton, leaders, stress, wellbeing
Emma Langton

Emma Langton

Executive Leadership Coach

Emma hosts the Lessons for Leaders podcast. Each week she brings you lessons, learnings, tips and advice to enable you to lead with ease in business, without stress, doubt and overwhelm so that I help you to increase your performance, be resilient and thrive in life. Emma has been providing coaching, training and therapeutic support for executives since setting up her business in 2011. Prior to that she spent over 20 years with people at the top of national and multi-national training and communication businesses.

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