Beyond the enormously damaging effect on individual health, the business cost of a stressed workforce is huge:
When individuals experience high levels of stress and burn out, the business takes a hit creatively and financially. Stressed staff means more sick leave, and greater staff turnover. But more than that, when you have a culture that is permeated by stress, with a lack of workplace stress management in place, it becomes very difficult to have new and innovative ideas.
Various studies coincide with news that corporate health insurance policies now extend to provide cover for mental health conditions. A positive step forwards, however this in isolation does not tackle the organisational stressors upstream, nor equip staff with the skills and resources to support mental health at work, to prevent them reaching crisis point and burnout – at CiC these are the areas in which our work is focused.
Providing Support for Employees
We offer a number of health and wellbeing coaching, workshops and courses designed to educate employers on employee wellbeing, focussing on how to understand the signs and effects of stress, and strategies to reduce.
What is stress?
Stress is something we all experience to one degree or another. We live on a stress spectrum and move along it depending on what’s going on for us. Stress can often be helpful, firing us up to deliver in a presentation or to meet a deadline. However, sometimes our stress can be so high it starts to show in our behaviours and in our bodies, having an impact on our relationships and our health.
How do we know when our stress levels may be tipping over into something unhelpful?
There are some key things to keep an eye out for. They include common behaviours that many of us turn to as a natural way to try and protect ourselves during challenging times. For example, getting angry and overreacting at the slightest thing, or projecting your anger onto situations or people around you. Turning to ‘numbing’ strategies like drinking, overeating, excessive use of social media, or supressing your emotions and just ‘ploughing’ on through but experiencing ill health in some way.
These stress signals are easily ignored, but they are red flags trying desperately to tell us that something needs to change.
What are the long-term effects of not keeping our stress levels in check?
Burn out is a very real reality if we ignore the signs of stress for a long period of time. Burn out is where you feel you’ve got nothing left to give. Often it shows up as a response to challenges in the workplace, but it can show up anywhere in life, and commonly manifests as a feeling of hollowness, lack of excitement, or compassion fatigue.
What steps can we take to reduce levels of stress?
The good news is stress and burn out are manageable. Wellbeing solutions such as self-awareness and self-care are essential in achieving this. We have to be aware of how we’re feeling, we are a society encouraged to ignore our emotions and just get on with things but checking in with ourselves regularly to see how things feel is a really important habit to get into.
Once you have the awareness you can start implementing your self-care strategies. Self-care strategies are personal, they can include exercise, meditation, healthy eating, dealing with self-sabotage, by getting a health and wellbeing coach or counsellor, connecting with people you trust, spending time in nature, journaling, or practicing gratitude to name a few.
Tackling Organisational Causes
And let’s not forget, this isn’t simply about placing the onus on the individual, we need to look inwards to the company’s contribution to work place stress management, in the first place. We should put employee wellness first and see experiences of burnout as symptoms of an ailing organisation, rather than simply a sick individual.
At CiC our fully managed wellbeing solutions start with the Confidential Care programme, which starts with our wellbeing specialist’s sitting down and consulting with key individuals to examine your unique culture and challenges, enabling us to put together a programme and strategy that clearly addresses these needs. The result is often that before any organisational wide wellbeing programme commences, we work with senior leadership teams and managers to lay the foundations for service promotion, which needs to take place first, but also throughout the service lifetime.
To find out more about our stress awareness training, health and wellbeing coaching, or our fully managed wellbeing programmes, please get in touch.