Three ways HR can help employees manage stress

 

How employees deal with stress is becoming more of a pressing concern in today’s workplace.

With more onus on wellbeing and work-life balance, understanding, and managing, how staff deal with professional, and personal, anxieties should be at the forefront of any good people strategy.

A recent article in Harvard Business Review looked at the many ways that HR can help workers deal with stress, from the innovative to the outlandish. We have collected three of them below, and accompanied each point with our own research.

  1. Don’t be judgemental

When employees are explaining to you how stressed they are feeling, make sure you’re not coming across as overly judgemental or critical. People deal with anxiety and pressure in different ways; your way may not correlate with theirs, but that’s not an excuse to be unapproachable. A recent NHS survey found that 48% of staff would not feel comfortable talking with their bosses about their mental health – a failure, surely, of workforce attitudes, HR and training.

  1. Offer a helping hand

Listening is not enough. As an HR leader, you need to be available to help when needed, especially when it comes to stress. If an employee is complaining that the workload is too heavy, then try and reshape their responsibilities or spread the work across the team. Caroline Webb, author of How to Have a Good Day, suggests asking if there is anything you can help with.

“Chances are that you can’t do anything,” she told HBR. However, the act of offering alone shows that you’re there if they need you. “Give caveats about what you’re able to do,” she adds. Notably, the message you’re portraying is: “I’m a limited resource, but I want to help you if you are in a pick

  1. Give staff some space

Stress is overpowering. If you continually hound an employee, asking them about their anxiety levels every minute of every day, then it will only add fuel to the fire. Instead, give them some space. Perhaps, offer them a personal day to help them reassess their stress. The dangers of swamping staff in the work day can have a knock-on effect for their personal lives. Six million Brits suffer from sleepless nights due to workplace stress, a study has found. Furthermore, research by Rungway shows that two-fifths (40%) of UK workers have suffered from high workloads or burn out over the past year, causing many to lose much-needed sleep. So, remember, try to walk the line between being supportive whilst being aware of an employee’s need for space and privacy.

This article was originally written by HR Grapevine’s Emily Douglas. You can read the original article here.

 

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