National Stress Awareness Day: top tips from Mind
Head of Workplace Wellbeing
We believe that the day-to-day demands and pressures of work should not be a barrier to good mental health.
We all know what it’s like to feel stressed at certain times – being under pressure is a normal part of life. But becoming overwhelmed by stress can lead to mental health problems or make existing problems worse.
There are lots of things we experience at work which can trigger stress: long hours, unmanageable workloads, difficult interpersonal relationships, to name a few. Research from ourfound that 40 per cent of employees taking part in the staff survey who reported that they were currently experiencing poor mental health said that this was work-related. This was either due solely to problems at work or a combination of problems at work and outside of work.
We believe that the day-to-day demands and pressures of work should not be a barrier to good mental health. As an employer, you can provide better support for your employees bywhere everyone feels valued and supported.
For National Stress Awareness Day, I’m sharing some of my top tips on how you can take action on stress in your workplace at an organisational, team and individual level. Some are quick to implement while others are more long-term goals.
1. Organisational level – these initiatives should be led by HR or a wellbeing lead.
- Take stock – it’s important as an organisation to regularly of the wellbeing of your staff. By understanding the mental health of employees, you’ll be able to recognise the factors affecting staff mental wellbeing, identify what you’re already doing to support it, assess the impact of your current approach and plan improvements. This in turn will enhance morale and increase productivity.
- Supportive culture – the workplace has the potential to be a hugely supportive environment where good working relationships thrive. Foster a culture where praise and feedback is freely given and making mistakes is okay. This will help staff feel their efforts are recognised and keep lines of communication open.
- Clearly defined roles – support employees to be confident, well equipped and able to do their jobs through clear job descriptions, setting objectives and providing opportunities for learning and development.
Build in regular temperature checks. This will help embed positive attitudes towards mental health and normalise conversations.
2. Team level – these initiatives should be led by line managers.
- Temperature checks – build in regular temperature checks to team cultures. You could add a standing item to team meetings to allow people to talk as a group about mental wellbeing and stress. This will help embed positive attitudes towards mental health and normalise conversations on the subject.
- Action plan – create a team action plan. If your organisation has a staff survey that asks about employee experience, organisational culture and mental health, you may be able to gather information about your team’s wellbeing. This could form the basis of a team action plan, focusing on key issues. You could take this further by holding a team action plan session at your team meeting.
- Train in mental health – if you are a manager, build your confidence on mental health by attending and get familiar with your workplace mental health policies and support options.
Everyone is different, so what works for one person in terms of managing their wellbeing won’t necessarily work for another.
3. Individual level – these initiatives should be led by line managers but guided by the employee.
- One-to-one support – the relationship staff have with their line manager is key to supporting good mental health at work. Regular one-to-one meetings and catch-ups are a great place to ask your staff how they’re getting on. Doing so regularly will help build trust and give employees a chance to raise problems at an early stage.
- Regular feedback – ask for feedback about the support you provide and what support they need. Everyone is different, so what works for one person in terms of managing their wellbeing won’t necessarily work for another. At Mind, we offer as a practical way for managers to better understand the needs of team members.
Mind has a range of ways that it can support you to feel more mentally healthy at work. And if you’re looking for more general guidance on taking care of yourself and tips for relaxation this National Stress Awareness Day, check out Mind’s guide to managing stress.