Work-related stress and how stress-management programs could help both employees and employers
It seems as if the West is in a permanent state of economic uncertainty. Governments have increasingly fallen for populist notions of tax and spend, regulation increases year on year, foreign rivals such as China gather strength and businesses are feeling the pinch.
Even prosperous areas of the country such as Reading, Oxford, London, Wallingford and Thame are no longer immune from economic uncertainty. Whatever your views on Brexit, its uncertainties hardly make for confidence.
Right now, as I update this post, we’re still stuck fast in the mire of the covid-19 pandemic. It’s causing chaos for every business in the land and is affecting the mental health of every one of your employees.
After a quiet few months, my psychotherapy practice picked up speed until I was as busy as ever. The strains of the pandemic are starting to tell. Depression and anxiety are through the roof. OCD is a more frequent cause of referrals than has ever been the case and health anxiety is through the roof.
If you’re running a business, therefore, it would hardly be surprising if you’re preoccupied with navigating the swirling threats and opportunities which surround you. It would hardly, furthermore, be surprising if the emotional well-being of your employees sometimes fades from view.
Nonetheless, your employees are your major asset. Loyal, productive and focused teams of people will either make or break your business. Can you afford to ignore it altogether? If you do, will you regret it when key people leave you in the lurch as they go off sick?
Workplace stress is still a hot topic and if you’re not planning for it, you’ll pay for it when it bites.
I wonder what stress in the workplace is costing your business, right now, today. How many orders have you lost? How much business is going to your competitors because they’re just that little bit more efficient, that little bit more chirpier on the ‘phone, that little bit more productive than you and your workers are able to be.
I bet you don’t even know. Stress in the workplace is generally only a visible issue when someone calls in to say that they’ve been signed off for a fortnight. That’s when the cost of workplace stress evident. However, poor performance under-performance and the loss of focus and attention is a constant drain on a company’s performance and profits.
Here are the facts. What do they mean to your business?
Mind’s Populus poll of 2050 workers found that as a direct result of workplace stress:
1 in 10 had visited their GP for support
7% had started a course of medical treatment for depression
5% had seen a counsellor
Half said staff morale was low
28% were working longer hours
A third said staff were having to compete against each other.
Now, this was in 2010, in the midst of the recession. However, in 2015 the HSE reported that figures for absence from work, as a direct result of workplace stress, had been steady for a decade. 43% of days lost due to ill-health were due to workplace stress.
What’s this doing to your company’s performance? Perhaps some of your employees soldier on regardless but they certainly aren’t performing as well as they might.
Are you going to ignore this? Looking after your employees will render them more satisfied, more loyal and better at their jobs. How would it be to know that you’re doing your best to support them and to know, in return, they’re not going to be leaving or taking time off through stress or depression.
Mind’s findings are a warning to all employers.
Mind’s findings prompt fears for the mental health of hundreds of thousands of workers who face debilitating pressure as businesses tighten their belts. Many staff are working longer hours, competing with colleagues to keep their jobs and facing a slump in morale.
The still recent recession and today’s covid crisis may have exacerbated mental distress in the workplace but badly managed stress and workplace mental health problems are a long-standing issue in our workforce.
Previous research has shown that every year, 1 in 6 people of working age experience a mental health problem and 5 million people rate themselves as very or extremely stressed by their jobs.
Overly-stressed employees cannot and will not perform to their best.
What are you going to do about it?
It is said that in any organisation only 10% of the workforce are responsible for doing half of the work. What if your ten percent begin to buckle under the strain of it all? What becomes of your business then?
Mind’s new research found that over the course of their careers:
Almost 50% of people had lost sleep due to work
22% had developed depression
1 in 5 said that work stress had made them physically ill
1 in 4 had cried at work due to unmanageable pressure
Only 38% of workers think their current employer is doing enough to support them.
Work occupies so much of our time that it would be incredible to suppose that it had no effect, for good or ill, upon our psychological well-being. You, as a manager and leader, have a degree of responsibility for the emotional well-being of your employees.
Even if you reject the concept of responsibility, you have an interest in helping to ensure that your team remains as productive as possible. This requires that their mental and emotional health remains in tip-top condition.
The bottom line, for your bottom line, is that you simply can’t afford to have your employees firing on three cylinders. Every part of your organisation needs to be in tip-top condition if you’re to survive the maelstroms of the modern business environment.
If your business is based in or around LOndon, Reading, Wallingford, Thame or Oxford and you’re keen to get the best out of your employees then I could help. If you would like to help them deal more effectively with stress, unpleasant customers, tight deadlines and the like, please do consider calling me on 01865 600970 /01183 280284 / 07786 123736. Alternatively, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Hypnotherapy’s techniques are easily teachable, quickly learned and could make all the difference to your team. As teacher for twenty years I’d be able to come in and spend a morning or afternoon (or even a full day) teaching your staff how to manage their stress more effectively. The methods I teach my clients can do wonders for stress and your business will thrive when your workers feel valued, cared for and can navigate the pressures of work without breaking.