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How to approach employee stress in the new world of work

07 / 04 / 2021

 

With the success of remote working over the last 12 months, the possibility of a complete return to the traditional workplace is looking unlikely. This presents leaders with the opportunity to further optimise remote management methodologies with a much-needed emphasis on wellbeing.  

As employees acclimatise to the shift to working from home and the ever-changing working landscape, feelings of stress and burnout have become increasingly common. According to employee benefits platform, Perkbox, a staggering 79% of employees experienced work-related stress in 2020 - which is 20% higher than 2018’s findings! 

Although employee stress at work is nothing new, the need for leaders to foster a culture of support and positivity as well as promote health and wellbeing has become more important than ever.  

What is employee stress?

Spotting signs of stress in your remote team can be challenging when social interactions are kept to a minimum. According to the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) work-related stress is ‘defined as a harmful reaction that people have to undue pressures and demands placed on them at work’. Although stress can manifest itself in different ways depending on the individual, there appears to be a few common denominators that cause stress at work: 

  • Heavy workload  
  • Tight deadlines 
  • Pressure 
  • Responsibility  
  • Lack of managerial support
  • Organisational changes  
  • Role Uncertainty

 

How can stress be reduced in the workplace?  

Stress can have a negative impact on your employees’ performance in the workplace, as it can often lead to rushing to meet tight deadlines and an increase in errors or mistakes. Stress and feeling overwhelmed will directly affect their productivity and quality of work and will also lead to high staff-turnover, as needless to say increased levels of stress in your team are not good for your organisation. The additional barrier of remote communication methods can exacerbate the problem, which means management need to take a proactive stance on mental wellbeing. Some ways to reduce stress in the remote workplace include: 

 

Ensure your employees feel valued 

Reward your employees for their hard work so that they feel valued and an important part of the business. Rewarding your team’s performance will demonstrate that you are invested in their welfare and that their hard work is not going unnoticed.  

 

Reduce virtual meetings  

The move to remote working has led to an increased reliance on virtual meetings and digital communications. Even though this is necessary for your team to collaborate on projects and stay connected in the virtual office, many employees are left with little time to manage their workload leading to increased feelings of stress.   


Set realistic goals 

Re-evaluate your business objectives and align them with realistic expectations as your team adapts to new ways of working. To track performance, set your employees achievable goals so that they are not left feeling overwhelmed.  



Create a positive workplace culture  

Creating a positive workplace culture has become increasingly important for businesses to thrive, no matter the challenges and economic landscape, as it results in a productive and motivated workforce.  

 

Raise awareness of resources available  

Make time to listen to your employees and put procedures in place to support their mental health and wellbeing. Make sure they are aware of the resources available to them in your organisation and promote open and honest conversations surrounding stress at work.  



Promote healthy eating and exercise  

Encourage your remote team to take breaks away from their desk and encourage health and wellness. Suggest going for a walk or a run on their lunch break to divide up their working day and boost productivity and positive wellbeing.  



Allow flexibility over rigid work schedules 

Create a culture of trust and be confident that your employees have the ability to do their jobs well and in a timely manner. Let your team know that their job is defined by the quality of their work and their overall performance as opposed to when they punch the clock.  



Building your team 

Barclay Simpson is an international recruitment consultancy that specialises in recruiting professionals for the interrelated disciplines of Governance, namely Information/IT Security, Risk, Resilience, Audit, Compliance, Legal and Treasury.  

When you’re looking to build and secure your organisation for the future, Barclay Simpson can help you quickly build a technically proficient team. 

 

Get in touch for support in creating a workplace with excellent wellbeing initiatives

 

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