There are limits to human endurance at work. More and more surveys of professionals’ report that heavy workloads, deadline pressures and always-on technology are taking their toll on mental health and physical wellbeing.
Aside from volume of work, stresses accrue from poor social relationships with colleagues, low pay, repetitive tasks, limited opportunities for advancement and juggling work with out of work demands such as childcare.
In the UK alone, mental ill health is the leading cause of sickness absence. 70 million days are lost each year to causes such as anxiety, depression and stress related conditions.
For sure, the economy is more competitive than ever before but in a world of great technological change with the potential to revolutionise productivity, business improvements shouldn’t need to be driven from working people until they become unwell.
For individuals the Mental Health Foundation outlines seven key steps to protect yourself from stress:
1. Eat healthily
2. Be aware of smoking and drinking alcohol
4. Take time out
5. Be mindful
6. Get some restful sleep
7. Don’t be too hard on yourself
For organisations there is a twin responsibility. How to look after your workforce to protect them from ill health. And secondly how to maximise effectiveness by reducing off-peak performance and workplace absence caused by applying too much pressure on key individuals.
Melius understands that great managers can positively support their team to harness stress and promote wellbeing. Our five-step programme is designed to provide a practical framework to underpin wellbeing activities.
1. Set clear goals.
Employees respond positively to clear objectives of what’s required and when, and to having an input to these goals.
2. Encourage mindfulness.
Managers that pay attention to the wellbeing of their team, and encourage all team members to do the same for each other promote a positive state of mind.
3. Provide flexibility
Lose the 9-5 and empower employees to create a work-pattern that best suits their lifestyles and natural rhythm without compromising the needs of the workplace. Flexible working is a significant megatrend explored elsewhere in this series.
Build opportunities for people to get away from their desks, even for short intervals has a proven impact on physical health and emotional wellbeing. This can be achieved by quick activities such as standing meetings or team briefings away from an employees own workspace.
5. Public recognition.
Managers that recognise the contribution as well as the achievement of team members build the sense of common purpose that underpins workplace wellbeing.
If your organisation would benefit from a wellbeing partner that can contribute this specialist perspective, get in touch with the Wellbeing team here at Melius to discuss how we can help boost your organisations capabilities.