Working environment is being highlighted as the number 1 cause of stress!

Stress is something that we all experience at some point in our lives and some more than others. It is not stress in itself that is a problem, but rather the lack of specialised support, training, and coaching on techniques to effectively manage stressful situations. When people are left to cope on their own in highly, or even moderately stressful environments for prolonged periods of time, the effects can be extremely detrimental.

Research commissioned by Mind has found that work is the most stressful factor in people’s lives, with one in three people saying their work life was either very or quite stressful! The survey of over 2,000 people found that workplace stress has resulted in 7% having suicidal thoughts and one in five people developing anxiety. Stress has often caused people to resort to alcohol and drugs to cope. Nearly 57% say they drink after work and 14% drink during the working day to cope with workplace stress and pressure. I

Further to this, a `workplace stress` survey conducted by Perkbox, also revealed work to be one of the most common causes of stress and 45% of participants reported that their workplace had nothing in place to support them with managing stress.

Of the companies supporting stress reduction, 27% said their companies encouraged remote working and organised social events, 6% offered resilience training or coaching, 8% offered counselling and 9% offered regular one to ones with their managers. It is clear to see that there is significant room for improvement in this area.

Having held leadership positions myself and delivered leadership coaching and training for the last 5 years, I have to say I am yet to come across a leader or visionary that does not need support or development in managing stress. Providing the right support will see a reduction of stress at an exponential rate, ensuring that your first customer, your internal customer, feels truly valued. The reasons for stress vary, but the indicators and symptoms of stress in the workplace are the same.

  • low morale among the team
  • absenteeism & presenteeism
  • high turnover in staff
  • procrastinating
  • increased conflict across departments
  • withdrawing from responsibilities
  • disproportionate customer complaints

Remote working and organising social events are ways by which you demonstrate trust and appreciation for your team, and they contribute to cutting travel time out of a working day and celebrating success. These motivation techniques are great, but they do little to support your team with effective planning, identifying their triggers, managing change or feeling supported.

As a leader, there is a need to adopt a bespoke approach to the support provided in the workplace and investing in external support from experts where necessary.

On National Stress Day 2019, think about if you are noticing any of the indicators or symptoms I listed, in your organisation. If you are, what will you do to reduce stress in your workplace?