Ensuring workplace pressure doesn’t turn Into unhealthy stress for employees
There is a concept called ‘EU Stress’ that refers to achieving the right amount of stress in the workplace. Simply put, a certain level of pressure is good for people because it’s motivating, and that’s what we call ‘EU stress’. However, on the other end of the spectrum, too much stress can lead to burnout, depression, anxiety, anger issues and drug and alcohol abuse, and this is when employees and their performance encounter problems.
As a Psychologist, I work with a lot of clients whose stress levels have become too high and as a result, are really suffering psychologically. This impacts their performance at work and communication with others, which in turn affects the business as a whole.
For this reason, it is really important for employers to understand what over-stressed employees look like and to take steps to promote positive mental health and wellbeing among their staff.
Here are a few tips on how to do that.
Recognising signs of stress and burnout
Perhaps the biggest sign of over-stress is sleep disturbance. Some other signs to watch out for include:
● Diminished concentration
● Short-term memory loss
● Appetite changes
● Increasing mistakes in the workplace
● Breakdown in communication with colleagues or managers
How employers can promote positive mental health in the workplace
There are a number of ways employers can help to promote positive health and wellbeing among staff.
Some proactive steps companies can take is providing Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for individuals who are struggling with stress, and conducting personality tests and questionnaires to get an idea of all the different personalities in the workplace. It’s important for people to understand their colleagues’ personalities and how to interact with them best, which in turn helps promote a mentally healthy environment.
At my own workplace, we have implemented many other great initiatives too. These include having a masseuse come in to give massages, and walking groups after work to get to know each other outside the office. We have all found these very helpful – in general, I think people really appreciate it when their company goes that extra mile to look after their emotional wellbeing.
Assure Programs is an EAP assistance provider. We help individuals in the workplace who are struggling with stress-related issues, as well as oversee critical incident management. In those cases, we attend a workplace in which an upsetting incident has occurred and provide psychological counselling and assistance for employees.
We also run on-site workshops on stress management for clients, and provide mindfulness meditation, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and other relevant services.
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While a certain level of pressure in the workplace can be motivating and good for performance, too much stress can lead to employees suffering burnout, depression, anxiety, substance abuse issues and more.
This negatively affects performance, communication and working relationships and subsequently, the business as a whole. I work with many clients to help them overcome workplace-related stress, so I thought it would be useful to share some guidance on how employers can help staff avoid over-stress and maintain a mentally positive workforce. Please have a read below.