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April 25 2022
Image credit: Newscast Online
We know the stats, we know how we can help ourselves, but looking after those around you that might be suffering from stress and resulting poor mental health is important too. After all, you’d certainly want the support when the shoe is on the other foot. But what can we do to help our colleagues and employees in handling their stress?
Be aware and spread awareness
First of all, we need to be aware of the issues, know how to identify the signs of stress, and then to spread awareness as much as we can. Get to know your co-workers and employees, this way you can act quickly should you notice a change in their personality or stressful behaviour. Some indicators to be aware of include bad timekeeping, working longer hours, forgetfulness, and a loss of motivation. If you notice behaviour that is out of character, try to be understanding, supportive, and see if you can get to the bottom of what is causing the issue.
Encourage employee friendships
Image credit: Newscast Online
It has been found that a friendly communal atmosphere at work can really help to combat stress. So it’s certainly recommended that employers encourage employee friendships to create an environment that is a pleasure to work in. Staff kitchens are a great avenue for facilitating this, having a communal area away from desks and computers where colleagues can have a brief chat will help relieve stress and tension from daily working issues. Encouraging after work social events can also be helpful. If staff are looking forward to seeing and spending time with their colleagues, a great difference can be made.
Most importantly of all, be sure to listen and make it known that you are someone who can be approached, a person that can be spoken to about such issues. Often colleagues will offer indications to their stress and anxiety in an indirect manner, so by being aware of what to look out for and listening to what those around you are really saying, you can be in a good position to help and escalate matters if need be. Be understanding and make sure that those struggling feel heard when they do vocalise any problems they are suffering with.
Seek help in creating a mentally healthy workplace
Finally, for employers that really want to help tackle the problem in their particular area of influence, organisations like Mind are a great friend to have. Speaking regarding their efforts in helping places of work, Emma Malmo of Mind says:
“We work with employers of all sizes and across different sectors to help them to create mentally healthy workplaces. This includes putting in place measures to help tackle the causes of work-related stress and poor mental health, promote wellbeing for all staff, and support employees experiencing mental health problems. Small, inexpensive measures such as flexible working hours, generous annual leave, regular catch-ups between staff, and access to Employee Assistance Programmes - confidential support lines – can make a huge difference. Forward-thinking employers such as Morgan Sindall Construction and Infrastructure Limited are taking part in Mind’s Workplace Wellbeing Index this year to identify and celebrate the good work they’re doing and get support to further promote good staff wellbeing.”