How employees deal with stress is becoming more of a pressing concern in today’s workplace. With more onus on wellbeing and work-life balance, understanding, and managing, how staff deal with professional, and personal, anxieties should be at the forefront of any good people strategy.
A recent article in Harvard Business Review looked at the many ways that HR can help workers deal with stress, from the innovative to the outlandish. We have collected three of them below, and accompanied each point with our own research.
1. Don’t be judgemental
When employees are explaining to you how stressed they are feeling, make sure you’re not coming across as overly judgemental or critical. People deal with anxiety and pressure in different ways; your way may not correlate with theirs, but that’s not an excuse to be unapproachable. A recent NHS survey found that 48% of staff would not feel comfortable talking with their bosses about their mental health – a failure, surely, of workforce attitudes, HR and training.
2. Offer a helping hand
Listening is not enough. As an HR leader, you need to be available to help when needed, especially when it comes to stress. If an employee is complaining that the workload is too heavy, then try and reshape their responsibilities or spread the work across the team. Caroline Webb, author of How to Have a Good Day, suggests asking if there is anything you can help with.
“Chances are that you can’t do anything,” she told HBR. However, the act of offering alone shows that you’re there if they need you. “Give caveats about what you’re able to do,” she adds. Notably, the message you’re portraying is: “I’m a limited resource, but I want to help you if you are in a pickle.”