News: September 2012
Managing workplace stress
It has been suggested that 1 in 4 people will experience mental health issues at some point in their life. As such, businesses need to consider how they can assist employees in maintaining their mental health through managing stress in the workplace.
Create a healthy workplace
Business owners and managers should endeavour to create a workplace which is healthy. Workplace stress can be caused by environmental factors such as lack of sunlight, lack of fresh air and so forth. Employers should ensure that the workplace offers a healthy environment with safe and comfortable levels of noise, clean air, good lighting and decoration that employees will consider to be positive and enjoyable to work in.
Business owners and managers should encourage the exchange of ideas about how to make the workplace healthy and less stressful to work in. Management should initiate the conversation with staff, a conversation that should centre on ideas for making the workplace a healthier environment. A healthy workplace is one in which staff feel valued and enjoy their work – this message should be conveyed to the team and feedback should be recorded and where possible acted upon.
Career uncertainty or stagnation can be a significant cause of workplace stress, resulting from a mismatch in skills and job demands, a lack of rewards or a lack of opportunity for advancement. Solving issues around career progression requires the attention of both the employer and the employee. The employer needs to foster an environment in which they encourage and listen to their employees’ ambitions and attempt to meet them wherever possible. This can be achieved through training, assigning new roles or opportunities and rewarding staff appropriately for their skills and experience. The employee needs to be able to learn through their mistakes, contribute to the organisation’s goals and accept change and responsibility.
Giving your team both flexibility and a sense of ownership of their work goes a long way to preventing workplace stress. Rigid hierarchies are disempowering and demeaning, making employees feel alienated from their work. Avoid rigid structures by giving employees control over the order in which they do their work and by ensuring there are opportunities for employees to contribute ideas in relation to how the work is done and organised.