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Recrutiment & Employment Confederation

April is Stress Awareness Month – Here are five ways to help manage workplace stress

Business advice

Guest blog by REC accredited business partner Howden

Workplace stress and anxiety can be a real challenge for those working in recruitment. Heavy workloads, long hours and pressure to meet targets are among the key triggers that can lead to a mental health issue.  

Unhealthy levels of stress can occur in lots of work situations but it is often made worse by employees feeling they have little or no support from their managers or colleagues. The HSE reported that there were 822,000 workers suffering from work-related stress, depression or anxiety (new or long-standing) in 2020/21. 

While certain levels of stress are normal for some, high levels can have some serious consequences for both the employee and for the business. So it’s important that employers put in place steps to support those suffering.

Here are five simple steps you can take to help manage workplace stress:

1. Improve stress and mental health awareness across your business - Ensure that line managers understand the policies and support in place for employees. Provide mental health awareness training for line managers is important as it will enable them to recognise the signs of mental ill health, feel confident in approaching an individual they feel is struggling and signpost appropriate support.

2. Exercise - Physical exercise has many benefits, it can help in relieving stress and anxiety, boost work performance and improve cognition and mental stamina. Also employees who lead healthy lifestyles and exercise regularly build stronger immune systems so take fewer sick days. We recently partnered with Reward & Employee Benefits Association (REBA) to research physical wellbeing and found that 90% of employers felt poor physical wellbeing was having a detrimental effect on the performance of their organisation.

3. Switch off - The pandemic has blurred the lines between work and personal life like never before. Long hours online and disconnection from colleagues can strain the body and the mental wellbeing of those working regularly at home. Encourage your employees to switch off and take regular breaks and time away from the screen.

4. Implement employee benefits that offer support - Remind your employees of the help and support available through their employee benefits, such as a virtual GP or the Employee Assistance Programme which are designed to support employees’ physical, mental and financial wellbeing and can include telephone and face-to-face counselling. If you would like to find out more about this please get in touch.

5. Make use of free resources. A number of charities and organisations offer a wide range of support for businesses and employees. Mind offers employers training and toolkits to help them support their employees. Anxiety UK has similar services and has a support line to call with any questions about preventing stress and anxiety at work. And Time to Change is a charity campaigning to remove the stigma around mental health.

Find out more

If you would like to find out more visit our dedicated REC webpage or email or call 0203 553 8340.

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