Stress is a natural part of work, but when it becomes long term and you find yourself weeping in the toilets, it's time to do a stock take of where you are in life.
National Employee Wellness Month is a great opportunity not only to do a personal inventory of whether you are happy at work, but also to assess what your employers could be doing to make life less stressful for you. It's in their best interests after all: happier staff are more productive and more present.
So bosses, please pay attention.
We've asked Neil Shah, 'chief de-stressing officer' of the Stress Management Society for advice - one of his key roles is advising companies on how to manage stress levels.
1) Conduct an employee engagement survey or a wellbeing survey
This will help to understand the experience your people are having at work, recognise the key trigger points for stress and anxiety. Then you can take appropriate action to address any issues.
2) Provide an Employee Assistance Programme
Providing employees with a 24/7 support system ensures that they stay mentally and emotionally resilient. However, it is essential that employers provide a comprehensive service. A good EAP should provide a 24/7 phone line, follow-up calls, referrals to specialists, and provide managers the opportunity to ask the EAP to contact select employees.
3) Excessive demands
In our experience, one the biggest causes of workplace is the excessive demands placed upon individuals by their employers. Unrealistic deadlines, heavy workloads, and being expected to work long hours. In order to maintain a healthy and productive workforce it is imperative that employers reign in on the demands and pressures that they place on their employees.
Have email and Blackberry usage guidelines. Encourage staff to switch off in the evenings and weekends.
4) Encourage team bonding
Team bonding can lead to strengthened work place friendships and increased camaraderie. This means there is increased peer support enabling your workforce to exhibit greater cohesion and output. Better relationships amongst team members also results in diminished personal stress.
5) Raise awareness of the importance of managing stress and increasing resilience with Training and Development activities
Increase managers skills and confidence in recognising and tackling stress in their teams, and educate staff to take responsibility of their wellbeing, know how to go about getting help at work and educate them on techniques and strategies to more effectively manage their wellbeing.