Let's face it - nobody wants to work in an environment with unmanageable stress levels. It just makes everyone feel awful, impacting emotional and physical wellbeing and impacting productivity and business performance. 
 
So why are there still so many companies that are experiencing high levels of chronic stress and burnout? 
 
Not all level of stress is bad - some stressful situations help keep and maintain focus and it can feel really good when you overcome a problem. But - work-related stress, especially if it leads to burnout with no apparent way forward, can have a negative impact on the individual and those around them. 
 
At Verve Healthcare, we favour a holistic approach to workplace well-being. Why? Because we are people. Parents do not stop having caring responsibilities when they come into work; managers do not stop thinking about their teams when they leave the workplace. What has an impact in one place has an effect in another and it's our firm belief that people are people and stressors in one place can impact in another. Times of stress do not stop and start at 9am or 5.30pm 
 
It's a soapbox we refuse to get off! 
 
Workplaces have become a significant source of stress for both employees and employers. Did you know that 79% of people who experience stress say that the cause is related to their work or workplace situations? No amount of deep breathing can fix a systemic issue. 
 
From our own viewpoint as a healthcare provider for corporate clients, our clinicians see these mental health challenges every day, through our on-demand mental health and private GP services. 
 
We say that knowledge is power! And knowing the signs of stress in your workforce, the incidence of job-related stress and the sources of stress will give you more than a good idea about what to tackle and how. 

Be honest, Is it a 'you' problem rather than a 'them' problem? 

We agree that individual support is valuable BUT how much better would it be if you could also tackle the source of stress and nip that in the bud before it gets too far out of hand? Time to ease some of that organisational blood pressure! 
 
Buckle up - this may involve some difficult conversations, especially if colleagues are having difficult relationships or if a manager is not performing as well as they need to. 
 
Managers can be responsible for a load of stress - yet 85% of new people managers have never had any training in how to look after their teams. 
 
Employers look at 'fixing' the individual without always looking at the work and health conditions that made them go off sick in the first place. 
 
It can be difficult to tackle this from within. That's why, as well as an on-demand private GP, physio and mental health appointments and our health assessments, we also provide professional help in a number of other areas. It's all because we see that fixing the issue first will make a difference. 
 
We look at: 
 
How “the work” is designed 
Role and team structure 
Workplace and team culture 
Flexibility and effectiveness of working practices 
Workplace ergonomics and working location 
Remuneration strategy 
Managing change and restructures well 
Management support and coaching 
Employee engagement and effective internal communications 

5 ways to manage stress in the workplace 

Let's now explore effective ways to create a positive work environment for the individual, drawing on insights from Verve Healthcare's expertise in corporate wellbeing. 
 
1. Keep an overview of your employees' health 
An effective way to manage work-related stress is by proactively monitoring employee wellbeing, such as via the Verve Healthcare employer dashboard (it's confidential for the employee, but you get a usage report so that you can spot any hot spots). You can: 
Detect early signs of work-related ill health and the effects of stress and mental health concerns 
Identify physical ailments that could lead to prolonged absences or that prevent physical activity 
Create targeted interventions based on employee feedback 
Remember, early detection and intervention are a key to preventing long-term stress-related issues and reducing absenteeism and keeping job performance high. 
 
2. Foster open communication channels 
We have said it countless times before, but communication really is key. To have open communication, you need to have a high degree of psychological safety - without it people will not feel comfortable about giving you a full picture. And in order to have a high degree of psychological safety you need to have good communication and a non-judgemental approach. And that comes back to good team management, training, mentorship and all the other good things above. 
 
See how holistic this all is? Employee health and stress reduction rests on so many factors. 
 
To get started improving communication, consider implementing: 
Regular check-ins between managers and team members 
Anonymous suggestion boxes or feedback systems 
Team-building activities that promote trust and communication 
By prioritising open communication, you're not only addressing an existing stressful work environment but also deterring future work-related stress from arising. And then people will feel a greater sense of job satisfaction, and they'll be happier and more productive. And everyone will have reduced stress, or at least daily stress levels that they can manage comfortably. 
 
3. Provide access to professional support 
Offering employees access to professional mental health support is a useful step in managing workplace stress. Verve Healthcare's pay-as-you-go mental health, physiotherapy, and private GP services provide confidential, professional support for your team members. These services offer: 
Confidential therapy for stress management 
Expert guidance on mental and physical health concerns 
Timely interventions to have a positive impact on stress-related illnesses 
Remember, providing easy access to professional support can significantly reduce the impact of stress on your workforce. 
 
4. Promote work-life balance and flexibility 
Encouraging a healthy work-life balance is one of the 'must haves' for managing stress in the workplace. Of course not every business is able to accommodate everything - it's a balance. Some of the things you could do to support flexibility and autonomy include: 
Offer flexible working hours or remote work options where possible 
Encourage employees to take regular breaks and use their holiday time to actually switch off 
Implement 'no-email' periods outside of working hours 
Research shows that promoting work-life balance can lead to reduced stress levels and increased productivity. 
 
5. Address workplace stressors 
While individual stress management techniques are important, it's equally crucial to address the root causes of workplace stress. Conduct a thorough assessment of your work environment to identify potential stressors: 
Evaluate workloads and deadlines to ensure they're realistic 
Assess the physical work environment for ergonomic issues 
Review company policies and procedures that may be causing unnecessary stress 

The impact of remote work on stress management 

With the rise of remote work, managing workplace stress has taken on new dimensions. While remote work can offer flexibility, it also presents unique challenges: 
Blurred boundaries between work and personal life 
Increased feelings of isolation 
Difficulties in maintaining team cohesion and the impact of individual tasks within the broader objectives 
 
To address these issues: 
Establish clear guidelines for remote work hours and availability 
Encourage regular virtual team meetings and social interactions 
Provide resources for setting up ergonomic home office spaces 
 
Working from home can offer some good options for reducing stress - more quiet time, less commuting, more time for relaxation techniques and favorite activities etc - but it's a balance and what may be good for some periods of time might not be sustainable in the long term. Perhaps establish a ratio of home/work presence to keep people connected? Time working away from work combined with a supportive work environment when the individual is working at work may give a good balance. Add in time management skills so that the right work can be scheduled in the most optimal location. 
 
Being an employee is not just about completing tasks - we agree that there are a great many tasks that can be completed quite productively away from the office. It's more about those opportunities for soft learning, like new starters being able to watch established colleagues and learn from them, that can be lost when we are not present together. Team building activities and social activity are all well and good, but nothing beats a good staff kitchen moment or impromptu coffee with a colleague. 

The cost-effectiveness of stress management programs 

Investing in stress management programs isn't just good for your employees—it's also good for your bottom line. Research has shown that workplace stress management interventions can lead to significant cost savings for businesses. A study published in the Journal of Occupational Health Psychology found that stress management interventions in the workplace resulted in: 
Reduced absenteeism and sick leave 
Improved job satisfaction, recruitment and retention 
Increased productivity 
These benefits translated to actual money, with an estimated return on investment of 1.5x for every pound spent on stress management programs. 

Legal considerations for workplace stress management 

As an employer, did you you have a legal as well as a moral duty to protect your workers from stress. This includes: 
Conducting risk assessments for workplace stress 
Implementing measures to address identified risks 
Regularly reviewing and updating your stress management strategies 
 
For organisations with five or more employees, these risk assessments must be documented in writing. 
The Health and Safety Executive's Management Standards can be a helpful tool in identifying and managing six key areas that can affect stress levels: demands, control, support, relationships, role, and change. 
 
Managing employee stress is a crucial aspect of maintaining a healthy, productive workforce. By implementing regular health surveys, fostering open communication, providing professional support, promoting work-life balance, and addressing workplace stressors, you can create a more resilient and engaged team. 
 
Remember, stress management is an ongoing process that requires commitment and regular evaluation. With the right strategies in place, you can significantly reduce workplace stress and its associated costs, leading to a happier, healthier, and more productive workforce. 

Manage workplace stress with Verve On Demand for pay-as-you-go professional mental health and private GP support 

Verve Healthcare's mental health services can play a significant role in reducing workplace stress through several key approaches: 
Confidential professional support: Verve On Demand is our pay-as-you-go mental health service, providing employees with access to confidential counseling and professional support. This allows staff members to discuss their concerns and receive expert guidance on stress management in a confidential setting, which is crucial as many employees can be reluctant to discuss mental health issues with their managers. 
Early detection and intervention: Verve Healthcare helps organisations identify early signs of stress and mental health concerns among employees. This proactive approach enables timely interventions before issues escalate, potentially preventing long-term stress-related problems. 
Tailored stress management techniques: The mental health professionals at Verve Healthcare can provide personalised stress management techniques to employees, helping them develop coping strategies specific to their individual needs and work situations. 
Educational resources: Have you seen our stress management videos on topics such as sleep, burnout, and gratitude. These resources can help employees learn about stress management techniques they can apply in their daily lives. 
Holistic approach: By combining mental health services with health assessments physiotherapy and private GP services, Verve Healthcare addresses both the psychological and physical aspects of stress, providing a comprehensive approach to employee wellbeing. 
Reducing stigma: By offering these services, employers demonstrate their commitment to mental health, which can help reduce the stigma associated with seeking help and encourage more employees to use the available support. 
Data-driven insights: Verve Healthcare's employer dashboard provides anonymised data on employee wellbeing, allowing organisations to identify trends and implement targeted interventions to address workplace stressors. 
Flexible access: The pay-as-you-go model ensures that employees can access mental health support when they need it, without the barriers often associated with traditional employee assistance programs. 
 
Ready to take the next step in managing workplace stress? Contact Verve Healthcare today to lower your own levels of stress and build our comprehensive health and well- being solutions into your stress management program. We can help you reduce the impact of stress in your organisation. And serve up a side-helping of improved job satisfaction at the same time. 
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